Ready or not, the holiday season has arrived! As you get ready for family get-togethers, there’s something more to consider besides which gifts to buy, what dishes to prepare, and how far off your diet you are willing to stray. When visiting elderly loved ones during the holiday season, it’s common to notice changes if you haven’t seen them in person for some time. Our experts share the warning signs that may indicate a need to consider home care.
What Changes Should I Look for When Visiting Elderly Loved Ones During the Holiday Season?
Changes such as these could be an indication that safety may be compromised:
Missed medications. If the person uses a pill box, check to be sure medications have been taken up to the current time. You might also want to have a look at prescription pill bottles for dosage details, and watch to see if the individual is taking the correct amounts at the right times during your visit.
Decline in personal hygiene. Take note if the person has always been meticulously dressed with not a hair out of place, but now appears disheveled or unclean. A decline in daily hygiene such as showering, combing hair, brushing teeth, and wearing clean clothes may indicate health issues such as depression, dementia, or physical impairment.
Lost weight. The individual may seem to have a hearty appetite during holiday meals, and may otherwise appear to be healthy, but obvious weight loss without trying can signal that something is wrong. A person who is losing weight may have trouble preparing meals, have a diminished sense of taste or smell, or may even have a serious underlying condition, such as cancer.
The condition of the house. Any major changes in the ways the house is maintained can offer a clue into the individual’s wellness. For example, burn marks on pots could mean the individual is forgetting about food cooking on the stove. A decline in housekeeping may indicate early dementia or other problems. Check to make sure the lights are working, the thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature, the bathrooms are clean, and there is no clutter blocking pathways, either indoors or out.
Mobility changes. Does the individual seem unsteady on their feet? Do you see any bruises or other injuries that may indicate a fall? Pay attention as well to how they get up out of a chair and sit back down. Falls occur in as many as one out of four older adults, and may lead to serious injury.
I’m Observing Some Red Flags in Someone I Love. Now What?
In the event that you detect these or other concerning signs, the initial step is to schedule a consultation with the person’s physician. You might be inclined to wait until after the holidays so as not to disturb the family festivities, but the sooner your concerns are addressed, the better.
One great way to help a loved one maintain independent living at home while remaining safe is by partnering with At-Home Care Company for customized in-home care services. We help adults continue to live safely in the homes they love for a lifetime.
The people we serve stay in control of their lives and daily decisions, while our trained, experienced caregivers provide just the right level of support through services such as:
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and outings
- Assisting with walking and transfers
- Grocery shopping
- Assisting with laundry and light housekeeping
- Offering companionship to alleviate loneliness, boredom, and isolation
- And much more