News 8 On Call – Commonly asked questions about elderly healthcare

Health

With people living longer, many adult children are caring for their elderly parents. 

“It’s become very challenging for family members to find ways to care for their elderly,” says  
Dr. Lazaros Lazarides, Associate Medical Director of Masonicare

He gave News 8 some answers to questions people commonly ask:

Is it safe for elderly parents to live alone? 

He says, “Age is a risk factor. There’s a multitude of other problems that can be risk factors. We’re talking about medications that patients take, some of them impair their judgment, impair their ability to comprehend properly. The good news is there are ways to assess them and to mitigate the risk factors.  And we can do it often times by examining a patient, taking good history and a physical.”   

When should older loved ones stop driving? 

Dr. Lazarides says to look if there are mistakes they’re making in little traffic violations. Are they not yielding to a pedestrian or just turning the wrong direction in the vehicle? 

He adds, “You don’t want to sugar coat it.  Unfortunately if it comes to the point where nobody is really agreeable, often times the family is going to side with the doctor because they are obviously concerned.  But then that’s where you have to have them go for a driver’s test and get DMV involved.” 

What can be done to make sure they remember to take medications?

“I think it comes down to being involved and being diligent about making sure they are doing that. But obviously, if they have some cognitive problems, I wouldn’t expect them to be compliant,” he says.  

When is it time to place a frail family member in long term care?

“It comes to a point where they are not able to care for themselves,” says Dr. Lazarides, ” The example could be, problems with incontinence, problems with neurological decline, strokes. We have home agencies.  Masonicare has hospice and they have home care so there are places where you can go ask for help.”

Dr. Lazarides says be sure to do your homework; ask home agencies/nursing homes questions like: How do you vet your employees? Are caregivers bonded and insured?

Have a health question? Send it to news8oncall@wtnh.com and we’ll get you the answer you need. 

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