Question: My grandfather is 91 and lives alone in California in his own house. Last year he blacked out and had a car accident. He was taken to hospital and had a pace maker put in. We didn’t find out until days later where he was. Three weeks ago he fell in his house twice and was down for 2-3 days each time. In the last fall, the lady who cleans his house once a week called the fire department and they had to force entry in order to reach him. I arrived from Texas the following Sunday and have been here for two weeks trying to get my grandfather to move to Texas. I went with him to a doctor’s appointment and told the doctor privately what had happened. She informed him he could not drive anymore nor live alone, and she really did it in a caring way. He agreed to move but now he has changed his mind and doesn’t want to move. I have suggested an assisted living place but he won’t hear of that. I love my grandfather so much, but I can't remain in California and he can't stay alone. So I'm looking into trying to find someone to come out and help him daily. What can be done with a 91 year old WWII Veteran who is cognitively strong and has cared for himself for many years?
Dr. Amy: It sounds like your grandfather would benefit from home health care, where a care giver comes in a few times a week to help with grocery shopping and other errands, and light housekeeping. At the same time, with a medical alarm system, your grandfather can alert people if he has a fall and can’t get up. There are a number of different systems available, so you can choose the one that’s right for you. I wonder too if there are things that can be adjusted to make his life more safe. Are there items in the house that pose trip and fall hazards? Can he do light exercise to build up his muscles and work on his balance to make falls less likely? His doctor can answer these questions, and a geriatric care manager can assess his house and how he gets around, to help you figure this out.
Get helpful tips and articles like these delivered to your email.