Ready or not, the holiday season has arrived! As you prepare for family get-togethers, there is something more to consider besides which gifts to buy, what dishes to prepare, and how far off your diet you’re willing to stray. During holiday celebrations, it’s very common to notice changes in older family members you haven’t seen in person for a while. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs and look for indications that could point to the need to consider the benefits of in-home care for older loved ones.
What Changes Do I Need to Look for in Older Loved Ones This Holiday Season?
Changes such as these may 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 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 might appear 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. An individual who is losing weight may have problems preparing meals, have a diminished sense of taste or smell, or may even have a serious underlying condition, such as cancer.
- 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 may result in serious injury.
- The condition of the house. Any major changes in the ways the house is maintained can provide a clue to the individual’s wellness. For example, burn marks on pots 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 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.
- Missed medications. If the individual uses a pill box, check to make sure medications have been taken up to the current time. You may even want to 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 Seeing Some Warning Flags in Someone I Love. Now What?
If you detect these or other concerning signs, the first 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 disrupt the family festivities, but the sooner you can address your concerns, the better.
One great way to help a loved one maintain independent living at home while remaining safe is by partnering with Absolute Companion 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 the ideal amount of support through services such as:
- Offering companionship to alleviate loneliness, boredom, and isolation
- Preparing healthy meals
- Helping with transfers and walking
- Assisting with light housekeeping and laundry
- Providing accompaniment and transportation to medical appointments and outings
- And much more
Ready to explore the benefits of in-home care for older loved ones? Our award-winning home care services are offered in Timonium, Hunt Valley, Cockeysville, and surrounding areas. Contact us at 410-357-9640 to learn more about how we can help.