Everybody worries about money today. Even people with plenty of it worry — especially seniors who remember the Great Depression.
“There sometimes is no food in their refrigerators,” says Nayda Poblete, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in the Orange County, Calif., area.
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“They cut back on expensive medications. Their homes are too hot because they won't turn on air conditioning.”
Q. What can family members do?
A. Family members need to watch that seniors don't cut too deeply. If they live out-of-town, they should consider providing visits by a professional aide who can assess the situation.
Q. How about family members getting more involved in care?
A. Suddenly out-of-work family members cut off senior care aides as “too expensive.” That's not always good because the family member may not have the right training, know what to do or even be available when needed.
Q. State and local agencies also are cutting senior services.
A. People need answers. Home Instead is offering a free brochure on senior care needs, including simple yet healthy meals created by Chef Rachel Ray. The company also will detail available community services free-of-charge to those who call 714-444-4880.
Q. You have a list of ways an economic downturn could impact a senior?
A. Home Instead and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging suggest family caregivers ask the following questions:
Is your senior's home too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter?
Is the lawn getting mowed?
Is your loved one complaining about not being able to afford medications?
Are home repairs being made?
Is there a shortage of food in the house?
Is your senior skipping doctor appointments?
Is the older adult staying home more and becoming isolated?
Is your senior cutting out entertainment?
Does your loved one eat out less?
Did your senior cancel a vacation?
Q. We are all making some of these adjustments, however. Like cutting back on restaurant meals.
A. Seniors need to know, however, that there is help — both food and gas assistance is available. We can provide transportation assistance and help around the home.
Q. Beyond the obvious concerns about food, medication and so on, what is your biggest fear for seniors?
A. One of the biggest problems that we see is senior isolation, which has been magnified during this troubled time in our economy with the high price of gas.
When seniors' families live a distance from their loved one or when adult children are busy trying to make ends meet themselves, an older adult can get into trouble very quickly.
You can follow Jane Glenn Haas on her Losers Club fitness quest at ocregister.com/health. For an exercise tip of the week or to sign up for the Losers Club, go to www.womansage.org.
(Contact the writer: jghaascox.net)
© 2008, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. AMX-2008-08-15T08:32:00-04:00