Ready or not, the holiday season has arrived! As you prepare for family gatherings, there’s something more to take into account besides which gifts to buy, what dishes to prepare, and how far off your diet you are willing to stray. During holiday celebrations, it is very common to notice changes in older loved ones you have not seen in person for some time. It is important to know the warning flags and what to look for that could 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 a sign that safety might be compromised:
Missed medications. If the individual 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.
The condition of the home. Any major changes in the ways the house is maintained can offer insight to the individual’s wellness. For instance, burn marks on pans could mean the individual is forgetting about food cooking on the stove. A decline in housekeeping may suggest 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’s no clutter blocking pathways, either indoors or out.
Mobility changes. Does the person appear 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 in four older adults, and can result in serious injury.
Decline in personal hygiene. Take note if the individual 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, brushing teeth, combing hair, and wearing clean clothes may indicate health problems such as depression, dementia, or physical impairment.
Lost weight. The individual may seem to have a hearty appetite during holiday meals, and might otherwise appear to be healthy, but obvious weight loss without trying can signal that something is wrong. Someone who is losing weight might have problems preparing meals, have a diminished sense of smell or taste, or might even have a serious underlying condition, such as cancer.
I Am Seeing Some Red 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 person’s doctor. You might be tempted to wait until after the holidays so as not to disturb 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 Compassionate Nursing Services 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 amount of support through services such as:
- Assisting with walking and transfers
- Providing transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and outings
- Offering companionship to alleviate loneliness, isolation, and boredom
- Preparing nutritious meals
- Assisting with laundry and light housekeeping
- And so much more