While of course we would love to visualize enjoying a Norman Rockwell-worthy Thanksgiving celebration, with all of our loved ones spending quality time together and Mom’s traditional holiday feast, the reality for some families instead can consist of something unexpected: a senior emergency room visit. In fact, research reveals that emergency room visits for the elderly increase as much as 10 – 20% during the holiday season.
Though uncovering the exact reason behind this increase is complicated, one issue could be family members who have not been spending as much time with an elderly relative in the weeks prior to the holiday season who discover during holiday visiting that his/her condition has deteriorated.
Dr. Tamara Kuittinen of Lenox Hill Hospital shares, “It’s an issue of out of sight, out of mind for many people. If you haven’t seen your mom in six months, you may not be fully aware of the aging process and her health in general.”
Additionally, there are some common changes related to aging that might be misconstrued, leading family members to think that an emergency room visit is necessary.
There are, nonetheless, several proactive measures that can be taken to protect against a holiday emergency:
- Keep a listing of contact information for your loved one’s primary care physician and any other medical specialists. Make sure the list contains all medications prescribed by each physician and any drug allergies or other concerns. Contacting the appropriate medical professional for his/her recommendations about your concerns is a good first step prior to a senior emergency room visit, unless of course the older adult is experiencing a true emergency.
- Speak with the older person about designating a health care proxy, who will be able to make health decisions if your loved one is not able to do so. Ensure a living will is in place as well.
- Check in with the senior on a regular basis throughout the course of the year. For family members who live at a distance, it’s helpful to enlist the assistance of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to stop in to see the senior routinely and to keep you updated with any changes they pick up on.
Naturally, if it is an actual emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 and seek the emergency medical care required immediately.
As the leaders in elder care in Hendersonville and surrounding areas, Stay Home Care is the ideal solution to make certain your loved ones remain healthy and well, and that any changes in condition are dealt with right away – so that the holiday season will remain as festive and enjoyable as it should be. Just several of the many ways we can help include:
- Medication reminders
- Meal planning and preparation
- Housework and laundry
- And many more