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Discuss caretaking, health decline
Senior moments
Rich DeLong is the executive director of the Suites at Station Exchange. - photo by File photo

I talk to a wide variety of people throughout the week. The topics of our discussions vary greatly, but it is safe to say that many of my conversations deal with aging parents and aging issues in general.
I thought this might be a good time to write about some of the more interesting discussions I have had.
Just recently, I talked to the daughter of parents who live out of town. Mom is taking care of Dad, and it is becoming increasingly harder for Mom to give consistent and proper care for Dad, as well as care for herself. Mom literally is wearing out and has little time for herself anymore. She used to be active with her church and social groups, but had to give up most of that time in order to keep Dad safe and well.
This is an all-too-common scenario — and one that is concerning. Most older couples don’t envision the time when one person may have to take care of the other. And many times, the caregiving spouse will end up in poor health or worse if he or she doesn’t receive some help and support.
To make matters more challenging, many times the aging parents are too proud to ask for help and overly concerned about being a burden to their children. Finances always are a consideration, and this generation is not used to spending money for such care even if they have the resources.
So what can you do? First things first: Get Mom some help, either by way of family, friends or a professional caregiving organization. These situations never correct themselves; they only get worse.
Next, start making some long-term plans for Mom and Dad. Sometimes, the children will end up taking on the role of the parent, particularly as Mom and Dad age and health concerns increase. Your folks may not like it, but someone has to intervene and make some sound decisions. There’s always a little room for compromise, just as long as the end result means Mom gets some help and Dad’s health concerns are being addressed.
Another recent discussion I had was with a family member concerned about his mother’s rapid decline in health. He stated that a week ago, Mom seemed fine but now is having a difficult time holding a coherent conversation.
A rapid decline in health always is a major concern and should prompt some form of intervention as soon as possible. Most rapid changes in health and behavior are due to just a few things. Medications could be the issue. Changes in meds or improper administration of medications, including forgetting to take them, could be the problem.
Infection could be another area for concern. Many urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause dementia-type symptoms. The longer the infection goes untreated, the worse the symptoms. A UTI that goes undiagnosed and untreated can lead to sepsis, which is extremely dangerous and life-threatening.  
Issues with blood pressure, blood-glucose levels and viruses also may be the culprits. Again, the key is a quick diagnosis so the proper action can be taken.
On the lighter side, I had a concern from a daughter whose father is dating a woman half his age. Hmmm, I wasn’t sure where to go with that one. Where is Dear Abby when you need her?
Stay healthy, my friends.

Call DeLong at 912-531-7867 or go to

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