Ready or not, the holiday season has arrived! As you prepare for family get-togethers, there is something more to take into account besides which gifts to buy, what dishes to prepare, and just how far off your diet you’re willing to stray. During holiday celebrations, it is common to notice changes in older family members you have not seen in person for a while. It is important to know the red flags to look for and how they might point to the need to consider home care.
What Changes Do I Need To Look for in Older Loved Ones This Holiday Season?
Changes such as these could be an indication that safety might be compromised:
Decline in personal hygiene. Take note if the individual has always been meticulously dressed with not a hair out of place, but now appears unclean or disheveled. A decline in daily hygiene such as showering, brushing teeth, combing hair, and wearing clean clothes may indicate health problems such as depression, dementia, or physical impairment.
Lost weight. The person 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 amiss. Someone who is losing weight may have problems preparing meals, have a diminished sense of smell or taste, or may even have a serious underlying condition, such as cancer.
The condition of the home. Any major changes in the ways the house is maintained can offer a clue to the person’s wellness. For instance, burn marks on pans could mean the person is forgetting about food cooking on the stove. A decline in housekeeping may indicate early dementia or other problems. Check to be sure the lights are working, the thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature, the bathrooms are clean, and there’s 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 which could 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 can result in serious injury.
Missed medications. If the individual uses a pill box, check to be sure medications have been taken up to the present 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.
I’m Noticing Some Warning Flags in Someone I Love. Now What?
In the event that you detect these or any other concerning signs, the first step is to schedule an appointment with the individual’s doctor. You may be tempted to wait until after the holidays so as not to disrupt the family festivities, but the sooner your concerns can be addressed, the better.
One great way to help a loved one maintain independent living at home while remaining safe is by partnering with Morning Glory Home Care 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 remain 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 laundry and light housekeeping
- Offering companionship to alleviate loneliness, boredom, and isolation
- Helping with walking and transfers
- Preparing healthy and balanced meals
- And much more