It’s the holiday season once again, which means it is also the perfect time for a “holiday reality check.” If it’s been awhile since you’ve spent time with your senior loved ones, now is a great time to examine how your senior loved ones are doing. With frenzied agendas or long distances separating families for a lot of the year, subtle (or not-so-subtle) indicators can very easily be missed. Be on the lookout for the following indicators that additional care may be required, and remember that looking for warning signs is not for the purposes of judgment or criticism; it’s a check for senior wellness, wellbeing and safety.
Physical appearance: An unusually disheveled appearance of a senior family member may be observed during a holiday visit. Failure to maintain daily cleanliness routines such as showering, brushing teeth, and other basic grooming may be indicative of health complications such as depression, dementia, or other physical impairments. Inspect to see if clothes are clean and if the person appears to be keeping up with good grooming habits.
Losing weight: At the dinner table, your senior loved one’s appetite may appear to be healthy through the holidays, but apparent weight loss without trying can be a sign that something’s wrong. For older adults, weight loss might be related to many factors, such as difficulty cooking or loss of taste or smell. In addition, weight loss is a sign of a more significant underlying problem, such as malnutrition, dementia, depression, or even cancer.
Appearance of the home: Any large fluctuations in the way things are done around the home could offer clues to health. For instance, burned pans could indicate neglecting food cooking on the stove. Neglected housework could be a sign of depression, dementia, or other problems. Check to see if the lights are functioning, the heat is turned on, the bathrooms are clean, and no clutter is blocking the walking areas of the residence.
If you discover signs like an unkempt home, unexplained weight loss, or other general mood changes, talk to the senior about care options. Although it may seem simpler to delay tough discussions until after the holidays, it’s much better not to wait until a real emergency strikes. Be realistic with your expectations, and realize that the senior may refrain from the conversation at first. The essential thing at this time is to open the lines of communication.
Need help with starting the home care conversation with a loved one this holiday season? Call the Roseville home care experts at Live Well at Home at 916-459-3220 or contact us online today for information about home care services in the Roseville area.