Spending time with family members is the hallmark of the holiday season. With the kids on break from school and the adults enjoying extended time away from the workplace, it’s the ultimate opportunity for the generations to get together and make merry. On the other hand, it’s also, the opportune time to evaluate the health, safety and wellbeing of our oldest loved ones.
Especially when our elderly loved ones live at a distance, it can be tough to uncover through phone calls, emails, and even Skype exactly how they’re doing. An in-person visit is the best way to detect any potential problems through simple observations in and around the home. The senior elder care team at Morning Glory Home Care, the Shiloh home health care professionals, shares the warning signs to watch for when getting together with older adults this holiday season.
Changes in the Home
A home that has consistently been clean and well maintained may have become cluttered and unsanitary. Mountains of clothing, stacks of mail, dirty dishes in the sink, and spoiled or expired (or no) food in the fridge and pantry can all indicate the senior’s trouble with housecleaning and food shopping. In addition, burn marks on pots could be the result of food left on the stove for too long – putting the senior at serious risk for harm. Though it may be harder to evaluate, another widespread concern is the older person’s failure to take care of finances. Check for unopened letters and unpaid bills, or any talk about the utilities being turned off or bill collectors calling.
Changes in Appearance
If the senior is unkempt with mismatching or dirty clothing and indications of poor personal hygiene practices, she may be facing problems getting into or out of the bathtub or shower; or, it could possibly be the result of cognitive decline. Also take note of whether the older adult has lost or gained weight without trying, which could be caused by a health concern that is in need of medical attention. And, if any bruising is noticeable, they could be indicative of a fall or even physical abuse. In each of these scenarios, an appointment with the primary care physician as soon as possible is warranted.
Changes in Personality
Pay close attention to any variations noticed in the senior’s mood and mental functioning. Does she appear to be withdrawn? Distressed? Forgetful? Has she become uninterested in activities and interests that were once enjoyable for her? Is she having difficulty sleeping – either too much sleep or too little? Does she appear to be going through mood swings? Is she involved in social activities?
When changes such as these are noted, it may be time to look into the assistance of a professional in-home senior elder care provider, such as Morning Glory Home Care. Our services are customized to meet each individual’s needs, whether just a little help around the home with housework, meals and running errands, personal care assistance such as help with safe bathing and dressing, specialized care for those with cognitive difficulties, or even full-time, 24/7 care.