A new year, a new outlook

Published 10:29 pm Friday, January 20, 2017

It’s the beginning of a brand new year! It’s a time for reflection and making resolutions for the New Year. What if your resolution was to do something for others and not yourself? Being with loved ones over the holiday season is wonderful, but can raise questions, concerns and red flags.

If we are not with a loved one every day, we may not recognize subtle changes. If we haven’t seen mom or grandpa since the last holiday, we may notice things like the house being extremely cluttered, friends not coming around, expired food in the refrigerator, changes in personal hygiene and frequent forgetfulness. These are all warning signs. Learning the signs that your loved one may benefit from home health services is the best gift you can share. So what are the signs of someone in despair?

Messy Home

Is the once tidy home now a display of boxes, trash, newspapers on the front porch, laundry piles and stacks of mail? Are the bills getting paid? Why so many mail orders? Is it easier to order online than go to the store? Is your loved one afraid of falling? The answers or the avoidance of answering these questions may be a sign that your loved one needs to make an appointment with a doctor.

Frequent Falls and Injuries

Are you noticing new bruises, bumps and cuts on your loved one’s arms, legs and head? Does your family member or friend seem stiffer than usual? These conditions may be warning signs that your loved one is falling. Their balance may not be what it used to be. Cluttered houses, failing eyesight, medication being too strong or not strong enough, poor lighting, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, fluctuating blood sugar levels or general weakness can cause people to fall without warning. Falls are to be taken seriously and discussed with your health care provider. No matter how big or small, your doctor needs to know. Your doctor may feel that home health can be beneficial for you. Home health services can offer nursing, physical and occupational therapies to address these issues in the privacy and comfort of your home. No one would want to get the call that grandma couldn’t get to the phone after falling and is no longer with us.

Daily Activities Become “Chores”

Is it an “all-day affair” to shower, get dressed and run to the corner drug store? An outing such as this may require a five-hour nap followed by aches and pains. Living life shouldn’t become exhausting or too much to handle. Life should be enjoyed. Living one’s life should be exciting and fulfilling every day.

Social Isolation

Is your family member or friend no longer attending social outings? Is there a change in behavior such as no longer attending church, family gatherings, supper clubs, play cards or engaging with others? These are examples of social isolation. Be proactive and contact your physician to discuss these concerns.

Being Homebound

Is leaving home more difficult? Being homebound can reduce a person’s quality of life and dignity. Think about how it would feel to no longer be able to leisurely hop in the car and go for a drive. Is this a condition that needs to be discussed with a doctor? Most definitely! Your physician may suggest home health services. These services can assist in improving your health and teach you ways to stay “active” around the home. Through strengthening, regular exercise, proper nutrition and actively participating in your health care, home health services can help people live their lives to the fullest.

Health Issues

Being diagnosed with a new chronic illness or disease this is a huge change in someone’s life. Education and support is available in managing these new conditions. Medication management is very beneficial. You can learn to control your disease rather than the disease controlling you. Your doctor may suggest assistance from home health or home care. It is something to consider. Home health can improve people’s independence. It is definitely worth considering.

Make this New Year’s resolution about helping others! If you care about your family, friends, neighbors or yourself and have experienced any of these conditions, pick up the phone, call your provider and make an appointment. Live your life to its fullest. Happy 2017! Let your primary care physician and the home health care provider of your choice improve your health. For more information, visit www.Vidanthealth.com/HHH or call 252-847-2000.

Brittany Elks, community liaison, strategic development, is with Vidant Home Health and Hospice and can be reached by calling 1-800-227-3894.