Aging parents — where to turn when you notice changes

More and more busy people are learning what it means to have an aging parent who needs help, and needs it now!

More and more busy people are learning what it means to have an aging parent who needs help, and needs it now!

You get a call at work and dad has fallen and he’s on his way to the hospital in an ambulance with a broken hip.

Or mom is in the hospital dehydrated, way behind on her scheduled meds — some of her meds are in the carpet and she’s not sure what they’re for.

Or you visit mom and dad and in the fridge is outdated food, the bathroom is a mess, and dad’s wearing the same clothes he had on for the last three days.

These are the very real scenarios we hear and see every day. Perhaps a bit of information here can be very helpful to reduce these major stressors that happen seemingly at the worst possible times.

Is your parent managing safely at home? Are they keeping on their proper medication schedule?

Have they suffered a fall?

Is their home being kept up satisfactorily?

Are bills and mail up to date? Is your intuition telling you something’s not right?

Signs like these may indicate that a little more support is needed to ensure safety at home.

Having someone who is a professional in aging/home care can provide a more objective set of eyes, and may provide suggestions that support healthier living at home.

Are safety equipment supports in the home? Simple additions like safety handles in the shower/tub, or safety handles on the toilet, are indispensable for avoiding a fall. They are like an extra set of hands helping to keep balanced.

Taller toilets and walk in showers are two important advances in safe home living as we age. Stability poles in the bedroom, or bathroom, can be life savers as well.

Has your parent expressed future health wishes? Assigned Power of Attorney? And is it recorded in the appropriate document? An Advance Directive and a CPR directive are two tools that should be discussed with a parent’s doctor much earlier than most people choose to. Talk to your parent’s doctor right away and be prepared. Related to these documents is the Power of Attorney document (via the lawyer) that allows a trusted family member or friend to assist with legal decisions in times of need.

The importance of these documents cannot be understated, and are too often realized when it’s too late.

Not sure how to find out what resources for aging loved ones are out there? Call the Island Health (previously VIHA) inquiry line at 1-877-734-4101 and ask for a Community Resource Guide, which lists many different types of services for seniors, as well as various providers in each category. For example: home care services, prepared meal delivery, housekeeping, transportation, housing options, etc.

If your parent needs a health/home safety/cognitive assessment, this is also the right number to call first to inquire.

Finally, calling a helpful provider like Nurse Next Door as a resource can answer many questions, as private providers are often in touch with the excess of information and knowledge needed to support family members and help provide information and care for an aging parent effectively.

Stopping aging isn’t possible, but being prepared for it is. Equip yourself with knowledge and save yourself a potential crisis.

Chris Wilkinson is owner/GM of the Cowichan and Central VI Nurse Next Door Home Care Services franchise. Visit or email Chris at for more info.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: It’s the highway’s fault!

One component of Vision Zero (our current road safety strategy) is highway design.

Moira Mercer spent her summer riding her e-bike around Cowichan Lake and beyond, collecting any empties she found along the way. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan 2020 in review — conclusion

What were your top stories from 2020?

Staff meetings can be difficult when everyone has his own agenda. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Garden additions at request of staff

I’ll sow the catnip in flats on the seed table inside

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: Snowballs fights and dead spiders

Even if it doesn’t end up how we hope, it’s the trying that matters most.

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Most Read