ARISE® Senior Intervention
For many, there comes a time in life when taking care of oneself, driving, shopping, and general personal care, becomes quite challenging to do alone. For family members, the challenge of determining the problem and the level of appropriate care can be frightening and uncertain. It can be hard to know when to ask for assistance for your loved one, especially if your loved one insists the time has not yet arrived. Most, if not all, families will face the difficult conversation of determining how to best assist aging family members at some point.
As we age, we experience a natural loss in physical function, decelerated reaction time, and some experience a decline in mental capacity and judgement. This change results in a dependency on outside assistance. Activities that were once routine can become impractical and confusing.
Signs of distress, or a need for assistance may appear suddenly or gradually over time. You may have had the experience of your loved one calling you because they got lost while driving on a once familiar road. Or perhaps, an older relative who has always been the sole executor of her finances is now behind on payments and forgetting bill due dates. You may notice your loved one taking more prescription drugs than normal. You may see new dents or dings on their vehicle. You may hear those repeating stories or information. You may notice them forgetting to do basic tasks (such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair or turning off the stove). There may be obvious physical signs such as weight loss, bruises and lack of personal hygiene.
In addition, older adults, who tend to take many medications prescribed by more than one doctor, are at high risk for prescription drug abuse. There has been an increase in the number of patients over age 50 who require intervention and treatment for addiction to medication and other substances. There are physical, psychological and social factors that make seniors more vulnerable to addiction. Ageing may lead to a dependence on drugs prescribed to deal with joint pain, sleeping problems, or injuries from falls. Additionally, sadness and loneliness from losing personal capacity, losing loved ones, or from being far from family, may also increase the risk of drug dependence, depression, and cognitive issues. When we are upset or grieving, no matter what our age, we tend to have difficulty with concentration and memory. It is really important not to jump to conclusions, but to talk with your loved one and your loved one’s primary senior care provider.
Family members who are closest to the situation may have the hardest time recognizing the signs that a senior is in need of support. This is a time to overcome one’s resistance to seeking out assistance for your loved one, and to acknowledge the reality of the change and the potential benefit of seeking professional help.
For an individual who has lived most of their life independent of aid, this can be a very challenging decision for the whole family. It is important to have compassionate, inclusive discussions to assist the Person of Concern in receiving the care or support they need. When the role of caregiver and recipient become reversed in a family dynamic, it may be difficult for the senior member to accept support. Gentle discussions are most helpful, rather than confrontation. The neutral presence of a trained professional, such as a Certified ARISE® Interventionist, can make an enormous difference to the conversation and resolution of the problems.
Your Certified ARISE® Interventionist is likely to suggest that your loved one undergo testing to distinguish the types of memory loss: confusion caused by medication, memory loss cause by early Alzheimer’s, or memory loss cause by prescription drug or alcohol use. The main sign that your loved one may be addicted to a medication or substance is if they are constantly thinking about it and fear not being able to function without it. Another warning sign is if they start taking their medication at different times and in different doses from what their physician has prescribed. Remember that sharing every small concern is most helpful to those doing the assessment and determining what care will be most helpful.
Intervention for senior residents of a community can increase community focus and safety. Older loved ones may need assistance with medications, physical support, mental and emotional support, or financial advisement. Assistance for an older adult can actually serve to preserve an individual’s independence if done with care and consideration.
Find Support for Your Senior Loved One
Our dedicated Certified ARISE® Interventionists can help you and your loved one to come to a mutual and supported decision with regards on how to best care for your loved one.
If you have an older loved one who is struggling to support themselves on their own, or who is refusing care, an ARISE® Senior Intervention can be an effective way to get your loved one and your family the help they need. ARISE® works with individuals working through addictions, behavioral circumstances, and other life challenges. Your Certified ARISE® Interventionist will help you select a treatment facility or caregiver that serves those in need of senior support and best fits the needs of your loved one.
Over the next six months following treatment, your Certified ARISE® Interventionist will continue working with you and your family, the treatment facility, and other treating professionals to determine the appropriate next steps for the next phase of their recovery. If needed, the contract can be extended as long as is it needed.