Although we’d love to visualize enjoying a Norman Rockwell-worthy holiday celebration, with all of our family members spending quality time together and Mom’s traditional holiday feast, the reality for countless families instead features something unforeseen: an emergency room visit. As a matter of fact, research reveals that emergency room visits for seniors increase as high as 10 – 20% over the holiday season. Read further to learn how to avoid a trip to the ER this holiday.
Though uncovering the specific reason behind this increase is tricky, one aspect could be family members who haven’t been spending as much time with an elderly relative in the timeframe leading up to the holiday season noticing during holiday visits that a senior loved one’s health condition has declined.
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 may be misconstrued, leading family members to believe that an ER visit is needed.
There are, nonetheless, some proactive measures that can be taken to protect against a holiday emergency:
- Make sure you have a listing of contact information for the senior’s primary care physician and other medical specialists. Ensure the list includes all medications prescribed by each doctor and any drug allergies or other concerns. Contacting the appropriate doctor for his or her recommendations about your concerns is a great first step prior to an emergency room visit, unless the senior is experiencing a true emergency.
- Talk to the senior about appointing a health care proxy, who will serve as a voice in making health decisions if your loved one is not able to do so. Make sure a living will is in place also.
- Check in with your loved one routinely throughout the course of the year. For family members who live at a distance, it’s helpful to recruit the help of your loved one’s neighbors or close friends to visit the senior on a regular basis and to keep you updated with any changes they notice.
Of course, if it is an actual emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 and seek the emergency medical care needed immediately.
A professional home care agency, like All Care In-Home Care Solutions, is the perfect choice to make sure your loved ones remain healthy and well, and that any changes in condition are addressed immediately – so that the holidays will be as festive and enjoyable as they should be. Just several of the many ways we can help include:
- Medication reminders
- Planning and preparing meals
- Housekeeping and laundry
- And more