Holiday Checklist

CARE MANAGER'S CORNER - Author : Eileen Dunn, MS, CMC, CLTC, Geriatric Care Manager

Each year when the Holidays come around, many of you will be visiting older family members. This is an opportune time to check on some health and safety details in their homes.

One new service I am so happy to share with you is

It is basically an Uber for seniors. I have a 90-year-old client that I finally convinced not to drive after dark. He and his lady friend enjoy going out for dinner a couple of times per week, and it’s been getting dark by 5 pm. Many seniors are just getting used to cell phones and certainly don’t want a smart phone. Here is how we used the service. The lady friend’s daughter will call the 800 number and order the ride. The service first picks up her mother, and then picks up my client. The service then drives them to their destination. After dinner, they call the daughter and she, in turn, calls the ride service to pick them up. I went with them the first time they used it just to see how it worked and to ensure it was all above board. It was awesome! Believe it or not, DWI’s are quite prevalent among seniors and I felt this could be an issue with this couple. Try telling a strong willed, 90-year-old man who’s been having a Manhattan (or two) before dinner and a Courvoisier (brandy) after dinner for sixty years he can’t do it anymore! Go Go Grandparent is a great service.

Some other things to look for are household maintenance tasks. When seniors are on a fixed income, some of the first things that get neglected are household maintenance items:

  • Offer to have the septic pumped. Many seniors forget all about this, but it can be very costly if neglected.
  • Change all the batteries for the smoke detectors and make sure their equipment is up to code. Many places now require a smoke detector as well as a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Make sure all steps, inside and out, are safe and in good repair.
  • Make sure they have a weather emergency plan if living in a cold climate. If feasible, get a small generator to keep some lights and heat on.
  • Check handrails to ensure they are not loose.

Many seniors don’t want or need “things” as gifts so consider getting them something service related.

  • Have the family pitch in and have snow removal and/or lawn maintenance covered
  • Subscription to the local newspaper

Grandparent Talk. This is available on It uses a deck of question cards to stimulate discussion between grandparents and the younger generation who don’t recognize the knowledge their grandparents have and don’t know how to ask the right questions to start a conversation.

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