- 2018 Posts
- Caregiver Specialist Heather Resnick on Caregiver Support
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- Center Launches North Shore Senior Options
- On Blindness, Alzheimer's and Love
- Shared Vision: Winnetka Congregational Church Woman's Society Benevolence Committee
- Protecting Seniors and Adults with Disabilities: Adult Protective Services
- A Jack of All Trades: Al Davis
- Family Tradition: Gone Fishin'
- Dedicated Volunteer: Fern Kamen
- Generous Soul: Mitchell Slotnick
- Assessing the Older Adult Members of your Family
- Giving Back: Fay Goldblatt
- Adult Protective Services (APS) Program Benefits from Shamrock Shindig
- Humble Beginnings: Bobbi Halloran
+ 2017 Posts
- Arts and Crafts at the Center
- #GivingTuesday at North Shore Senior Center
- Leisure Time Well Spent - Daytrips at the Center
- New Advisory Council Formed
- Playreading with Vivian Mitchel
- North Shore Senior Center's Foundation Board
- Wills vs. Trusts
- Joan Golder Distinguished Senior Lecture Series showcased actor Mike Nussbaum
- 20/20 Corporate Campaign
- Functional Fitness: Training for Everyday Life
- Benefits of Pet Therapy for People with Memory Loss
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Benefit from Oktoberfest
- Small Screen Big Stars: Oh What a Night!
- Sharing a Common Thread
- Helping You Make Informed Choices for Care
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Distinguished Community Partner
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Dedicated Corporation
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Outstanding Philanthropist
- Special Needs Trusts
- Gifts in Kind Increase the Center's Impact
- Enrich your Life with Lifelong Learning
- A Little TLC Goes a Long Way
- PEARLS: Reducing Symptoms of Depression Home-based Counseling Services Available
- Big Stars to Chair Annual Benefit
- Evanston Community Foundation
- Million Dollar Round Table Foundation
- Super Senior Day
- New Physical Therapy Services Now Available at North Shore Senior Center!
- Stroke Prevention Tips
- Why Powers of Attorney are Important to You!
- Get Expert Help with Your Tax Returns
- North Shore Senior Center Awarded Gold Status for Philanthropic Efforts
- Fitness as a Goal for Life
- Men's Club Offers Unique Programs to Community
- Spread the Love at North Shore Senior Center
- Jean Griswold Foundation supports House of Welcome Adult Day Services
- "I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for people." - Maya Angelou
- "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." - Zeus from Hercules
- Winter Safety and Health Tips
- "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell
- A Granddaughter's Love for her Grandmother
- Six Things to Consider Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren
- Lending Closet for Durable Medical Equipment at North Shore Senior Center
- Seniors Can Save Lives by Donating Blood
+ 2016 Posts
- Lifelong Learning Catalog Wins International Award for Best Brochure
- Life Stories are Gifts that Keep on Giving
- Visiting Aging Parents During the Holidays
- Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing at the House of Welcome
- Learn More About What Makes This World Tick
- 60 Years of Service: Advocacy
- 60 Years of Service: Compassion
- Myrna and John Cruikshank, III: Steady and Committed Philanthropists
- Kenilworth United Fund: Longstanding, Civic-Minded Community Partner
- Radford Green at Sedgebrook: Dedicated Corporation and Vested Supporter
- Simple Tips to Improve Your Balance
- 60 Years of Service: Creativity
- Daily Money Management Fosters Peace of Mind
- Opportunities for Learning, Exploring, and Connecting
- The Edna Weber "Garden of Light" Wing
- Protecting Vulnerable Seniors: Adult Protective Services Promotes Quality of Life
- Top Ten Reasons Why Older Adults Continue to Work
- Super Seniors We Admire!
- Scams and Fraud: Protect Yourself
- The State's Devastating Impact on Our Budget
- North Shore Senior Center Southern Hub Moves to Niles
- Alzheimer's Family Support Group
- Evanston Support Group for Family Caregivers
- Family Caregiver Support Group in Skokie
+ 2015 Posts
- Music + Dance + Dialogue = A Musical!
- Flex and Strengthen Your Muscles
- Generous & Caring Corporate Citizen
- More Than Service and Fellowship
- Art Gallery a "Hidden Gem" at North Shore Senior Center
- Sound Off on Hearing Loss
- Making Sense of American Poltics
- Fitness Center Enhances More Than Muscle Strength
- Virtual View of Art: From the Basics to Specialties
- Social Connections are a Key to Successful Aging
- North Shore Senior Center Celebrates Super Seniors!
- Super Senior Spotlight
- What is a Senior Center?
- MDRT Foundation Aids Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program
- Social Worker Reaches Out to Seniors in Need
- How to Achieve Your Healthiest Brain Yet
- AmazonSmile: Your Online Shopping Can Help NSSC!
+ 2014 Posts
Assessing the Older Adult Members of your FamilyJanuary 29, 2018
By: Kerry R. Peck, Esq.
Contributing Author: Sofia Vatougios, Law Clerk
Looking back on the last holiday season it’s easy to understand that the rushing around for gifts and planning holiday parties causes us to overlook signs that perhaps an older adult family member is in declining health. It is important that we be vigilant in making certain our aging family is safe happy and healthy.
According to the AARP, an assessment is “a comprehensive review of a person’s mental, physical, environmental and financial condition.” Assessing an older loved one is important in determining his or her ability to continue living safely and independently while identifying risks and ways to minimize them. A thorough assessment should combine a plan to meet the needs of your loved one while addressing potential issues. The results of such assessments may be necessary in changing your family member’s living situation, level of assistance they may need, and over health. Having a strong plan may very well reduce the amount of accidents and illnesses, expand independence and lend toward a longer life and improved quality of living for your loved one. Above all, make sure to keep your loved one in the loop about their options once an assessment has been made and try to involve them in the process as much as possible.
One of the ways we can keep an eye on our older family members is looking out for and preventing potential falls. More than one in three people age 64 years or older fall each year, and the risk of falling only rises with age. Making sure your loved ones are receiving regular checkups for eyesight, hearing, and reflexes is the first step you can take in preventing falls. Diabetes, heart disease, and problems with thyroid, nerves, feet, or blood vessels can also induce dizziness or sleepiness, increasing the risk of falling. Additionally, certain medications can bring about sensations of confusion or dizziness. Keeping tabs on your loved ones’ conditions and medications is a key step in preventing them from injury. Beware of wet or icy surfaces, as they can be a slipping hazard. Make sure to spread sand or salt on icy areas by your front or back door and wear appropriate footwear when walking outside. As always, if your loved one is need of an assistive device, make sure that they are using it whenever possible. Appropriate use of canes and walkers can prevent falls. It is crucial to make sure these devices are the right size and operate smoothly.
Frequent cognitive screening is also important in keeping tabs on your loved ones’ mental health. Many individuals who are developing or have dementia do not receive a diagnosis. In fact, more than half of patients with dementia had not received a clinical cognitive evaluation by a physician, according to a 2014 study. While your family member’s primary physician may perform routine cognitive tests during checkups, it is beneficial to have extensive assessments performed to look for signs we may otherwise not notice. First and foremost, it is crucial to keep an eye out for potential red flags. Symptoms such as changes in memory or thinking are indicators that your family member should be screened for cognitive impairment; this is especially true if they are also over the age of 80. Other risk factors that indicate the need for dementia screening include low education, history of type 2 diabetes, stroke, depression, and trouble managing financials or medications. Additionally, early screening has many benefits. Even if the screening is negative, you will enjoy peace of mind knowing things are well for the moment. In the event that the screening is positive and further evaluation is warranted, you can take steps together with the physician to identify the cause and potentially treat the underlying condition more quickly and effectively.
While it may seem like assessing cognitive impairment involves your family member and their physician, as a family member you also play an important role. The most successful approach to assessing cognitive ability is a combination of cognitive testing and information from someone, such as a spouse or caregiver, who has frequent contact with your family member. If you are the primary caretaker for your loved one, speaking privately with the physician allows for a more candid discussion. You may also choose to be present during their cognitive assessment interview and contribute additional information once they have spoken. If you are curious and want to get involved in the process of evaluating your loved one, especially during the hustle of the holiday season, resources such as the Dementia Screening Indicator and Geriatric Depression Scale may prove to be very helpful to you.
In addition to cognitive issues that may arise, there are other signs to look out for as well. While it may seem obvious, making sure your loved one is eating regularly is not only important to their health, but can also be indicative of something more serious. Although appetite is known to change with age, there are a number of factors that can also cause loss of appetite in older individuals. The loss of appetite may be due to a lack of energy to cook, lack of interest in food due to depression or loneliness, lack of appetite due to health conditions, or a side effect of medication. Certain health changes can also affect appetite, such as lower metabolic rate, lessened physical activity, dental problems, gastrointestinal changes, or even changes to sense of smell and taste. More serious health issues that may occur in conjunction with decreased appetite are Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. If you are concerned about your loved one’s lack of appetite, notice unexplained changes to their dietary health, weight, or general malaise, and want to rule out any underlying health problems, consult a physician.
Refusing or forgetting to take medicine can also be a red flag when assessing your loved ones. People neglect to take their medicine properly for a number of reasons. Most commonly older individuals just simply forget to do so. When considering the fact that the average senior takes about seven different medications (OTC and prescribed), it is not surprising that they may lose track and forget to take them. If this is the case, keep a log of your loved one’s medicinal intake and make sure they are taken at the appropriate time and frequency. If you are unable to do so, do not hesitate to ask another family member, friend, or caregiver to do so. Tools such as pill organizers, medication management devices, event reminder services (like cell phone alarms), medication checklists, and consolidating medications into fewer pills may also be useful in combatting your loved one’s forgetfulness. A more serious problem arises when your loved one refuses to take their medication. If this is the case for your loved one, you may want to consider hiring a full-time caregiver or placing them in an assisted living facility.
Your loved one’s health should always remain a priority. Plan in advance to give you and your family peace of mind throughout the year by looking out for symptoms and red flags of declining health. Set a goal for your family members health and happiness.
 Barnes, et al. Dementia Screening Indicator. http://ars.els-cdn.com/content/image/1-s2.0-S1552526013029403-gr2.jpg.
 Stanford University. Geriatric Depression Scale. http://web.stanford.edu/~yesavage/GDS.html.
 Kotagal V, Langa KM, Plassman BL, et al. Factors associated with cognitive evaluations in the United States. Neurology. 2014 Nov 26. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001096. [Epub ahead of print] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25428689