We all look forward to the chance to spend extended, quality time with those we love over the holidays. And while the festive meals, bright decorations, gifts and laughter are vital components of family holiday celebrations, there’s another key aspect to be sure to include in your visiting: assessing older loved ones for any changes that could indicate the need for care at home.
In our hectic day-to-day lives, it can be hard to carve out time to really hone in on the wellbeing of our senior loved ones, which makes holiday visiting the perfect time to pay close attention to any red flags that may have arisen using our senior care checklist:
- Home: If your elderly loved one has always taken great pride in the upkeep of her home, changes such as clutter, stacks of mail, newspapers, or clothing, or a lack of sufficient food or fresh food in the refrigerator can be indicative of a problem. Also check for any burn marks on countertops or pots and pans that could point to dangerous cooking accidents.
- Physical Appearance: Is your loved one tending to personal hygiene needs effectively, or is there a noticeable decline in her appearance, such as dirty or unmatching clothing, uncombed hair, or significant weight loss or gain? Take note as well of the condition of the senior’s skin, looking for bruises or other indicators of a fall or other injury.
- Mental and Emotional Status: A senior who has always been the life of the party at family gatherings, yet now seems withdrawn and quiet, disinterested in what’s going on around her, overly tired, or anxious may be experiencing a health concern. Pay attention as well to the conversations she engages in; does she seem to struggle with recalling recent events, such as what she had for breakfast, yet is more engaged in reminiscing and discussion of longer-term memories?
Changes such as those noted above, or any others that raise a red flag, should be addressed immediately. A good starting point is to talk with the senior about scheduling an appointment with her primary care physician for a check-up, and to begin to put a plan in place to help her improve safety and quality of life.
It’s also a good idea to begin the discussion about the potential need for care at home, bearing in mind that it often takes more than one conversation before a senior is open to accepting the idea of help. The award-winning providers of home care in Marana and the nearby areas, Senior HomeCare of Tucson, is available to provide a free in-home consultation to answer any questions and to provide details on the personalized care solutions that enhance safety and overall wellbeing for seniors at home.