Now that we’ve officially entered the holiday season, there’s a good chance you’ll be celebrating with friends and family over the coming weeks. In addition to sharing the festivities with your most cherished loved ones, these visits can serve as great opportunities to check-in on the health and well-being of your older relatives. If you don’t see your these relatives on a regular basis, you’ll probably notice negative changes right away. But some signs of distress are less noticeable and require more a bit more mindfulness to detect. Here are a few things to watch out for during your holiday gatherings:
How do they Look?
Poor personal hygiene is one of the first signs an older loved one will display if they’re having trouble taking care of themselves. With that in mind, take note of how your loved one looks. Have they lost weight since you last saw them? That could be a sign they’re not eating enough. Are they wearing clean clothes? It’s often easy to ignore the laundry if you’re spending most of your days alone. Does it look like they bathe regularly? Fear of slipping and falling in the tub often causes older people to avoid bathing altogether. If anything seems off about your loved one’s personal appearance or hygiene, it’s probably worth exploring further.
How do they Sound?
Early signs of dementia are often manifested in communication. So it’s important to pay attention to how your older relative participates in holiday conversation. When your older loved one speaks, do they make sense? Can they follow and join in on a conversation as it moves around the dinner table or do they mostly keep to themselves? Do they lose the conversational thread and become easily confused? Do they have trouble finding the right word? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time your loved one visited their doctor for a dementia evaluation.
How are they Living?
If you’re visiting an older relative in their home, look around for a moment to see how they’re living. Is the house clean? Is there food in the fridge? Are they sleeping in their own bed every night? Are they staying up-to-date with all their medications? Because we’re younger, we don’t always appreciate how much work it takes to keep a household running on all cylinders. But when physical or mental impediments compromise your health, all that work becomes nearly impossible.
Help is Available
If you see signs of trouble in any of the three areas listed above, it’s possible your older loved one needs help managing some of life’s everyday tasks. Now even if this is true, that doesn’t mean your loved one needs to immediately move into an assisted living facility. Quite the opposite actually. In fact, a qualified in-home caregiver can help your loved one live a more healthy, independent life while staying in their own home where they’re most comfortable.
If your loved one lives in the metro Phoenix area, Generations Home Care can help. Our trained caregivers can help with everyday tasks like dressing and grooming, bathing and personal care, simple companionship, or medication tracking. If you’d like to know more, check out our list of services and then give us a call at 602-595-HOME (4663). During the call we’ll schedule a free in-home assessment which will establish a baseline of needs and a corresponding plan of care. If you don’t live in Phoenix but need a little help getting started, you can download our free checklist of 6 Things to Know and Ask of Any In Home Care Provider.
The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration. But we should also take the time to check-in with all our loved ones to make sure their basic needs are being met. That’s what it really means to be part of family.