Holidays are a time when families come together to celebrate. With children on break from school and extended time off from the workplace, it’s the perfect occasion for the generations to get together for some quality time. However, it’s also the opportune time to observe the health, safety, and wellbeing of older family members.
A decline in one’s health can happen quickly, and seniors often try to conceal new or worsening problems. During this year’s holiday season, be sure to look for warning signs that a loved one may need extra help at home. Here are a few red flags to look for when sharing the holidays with older adults.
Changes in the home – a home that’s been well maintained may have become cluttered, piles of dirty laundry, unpaid bills, as well as burn marks on the bottom of pots from over cooking food. Check on his or her medications and if you expect they are forgetting to take medications. A senior home caregiver can help with medication reminders.
Changes in appearance – unkempt appearance or unclean clothing, poor hygiene behaviors, lost or gained weight. Also, look for bruising, as it can indicate falling.
Emotional Well-Being – changes in mood or behavior. Look for signs of depression and anxiety, including withdrawal from social activities. Beware of dehydration, which often happens during the winter months and can be serious.
In many families, the holidays are the only time of year when everyone is reunited. Take this opportunity to evaluate how senior loved ones are managing on their own. Talk with them about how they are feeling and you might discover that they are ready for a change but not sure how to get started.