"Benevolent Probing" May Help Your Aging Loved Ones Remain Independent Longer

Observing Independence Day: "Benevolent Probing" May Help Your Aging Loved Ones Remain Independent Longer

Benevolent Probing Helps Aging Loved Ones Remain Independent

For Immediate Release

SYNERGY HomeCare Experts Offer Checklists for Checking In with Aging Loved Ones

Gilbert, Arizona (July 1, 2020) - Celebrating our nation’s birthday is often a family affair – a great time to check in on our aging loved ones. Whether this year’s visit is online or in- person, experts at SYNERGY ® HomeCare, a leading national in-home care franchise,
agree that a technique called “benevolent probing” can assist adult children in determining if their aging loved ones could benefit from home care assistance in order to retain their independence.

Indeed, independence is a hallmark of both baby boomers and members of the Greatest Generation. A recent AARP survey found that 86% of those 65+ report they want to remain in their current residence for as long as possible. But most don’t understand that this desire to age in place may ultimately require a little bit of in-home care to ensure their long-term independence.

“The upcoming holiday is a great opportunity to see how aging loved ones are doing," said Ruth Busalacchi, a long-time SYNERGY HomeCare franchisee based in Milwaukee, Wisc. “Whether you visit in person or via video chat, the goal is to use benevolent probing to gain insight without appearing to threaten your loved one’s independence.”

Benevolent probing is a combination of observation and conversation that cover four key areas.

  1. Activities of Daily Living: Are your loved ones keeping up with their appearance, (i.e., shaving, haircut, clothing, hygiene)? How is their weight? If you are on a video call, ask for a little house tour to see what’s “new.” Check to see if the home is more cluttered than usual. If you are visiting in person, check the refrigerator to get a sense of how well they are eating. Take a look at the expiration dates on the medicine bottles, too.
  2. Memory: Inquiring about current events is a great way to test their short-term memory. Are they engaged or protective? If they are brushing you off with answers like “Yes,” “Right,” or “Hmmm.” it may be an indication of some memory loss. You can also ask what they did last weekend or see how up to date they are on other family members.

  3. Mobility: How did they move about the house on that video tour? Are they grabbing onto furniture to steady themselves? Do you notice any bruising which may indicate a recent fall? If visiting in person, go on a walk with them to see if they tire easily or seem unbalanced. In addition, understanding their driving habits may be helpful. Have them take you on a drive to see if they lost confidence in their skills. Look at their car for any dings or scratches.
  4. Social Engagements: Ask about friends they are in touch with either in person or on the phone, as well as any regular activities or recent outings. Are there activities they have stopped doing? Are their things they wish they could do but don’t have a companion or a ride? Isolation is often a gateway to depression, which can also negatively impact memory or activities of daily living.

According to Busalacchi, if you notice your loved ones have declined in any of these areas, you should not wait for a crisis to take action.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean having an intervention in the moment,” she said. “You may want to consult with your siblings to see if they have noticed similar behaviors and begin researching home care options in your area. Understanding your elders’ wishes can ensure that together you can map out a game plan that everyone is comfortable with.”

Unlike 20 years ago, aging in place is a greater option today than ever before. The continuum of in-home care is comprehensive. Whether a loved one needs a companion to help her stay active, more personal care such as assistance showering, or full-time support for a chronic condition, a personalized care plan is developed for each and
every client to support aging in place.

Learn about the many home care options available at SYNERGYHomecare.com.

About SYNERGY HomeCare

With over 15 years of brand equity, SYNERGY HomeCare is one of the largest franchisors of in-home care services with approximately 162 franchisees operating in more than 343 franchise locations nationwide. The company provides a range of services including non-medical personal care, companion care, and specialized care for individuals who are physically or developmentally disabled, living with chronic health conditions or recovering from illness or surgery. SYNERGY HomeCare helps their clients achieve the highest quality of life and independence attainable. For more information visit SYNERGYHomecare.com.

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David Siroty
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Heather Reid
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