The holiday season is here. As you visit this season, here are some signs of what to be looking for when visiting elderly parents or loved one this holiday season.
When families live far away from one another, the holidays may be the only opportunity that long-distance caregivers and family members have to personally observe older relatives. Some things to look for are:
The cause could be as serious as cancer, dementia, heart failure, or a lack of energy to cook for a loved one or just themselves. Certain medications and aging in general can change the way food tastes.
Pay close attention to the way your parent moves, and in particular how they walk. A reluctance to walk or obvious pain during movement can be a sign of joint or muscle problems or more serious afflictions. And if unsteady on their feet, they may be at risk of falling, a serious problem that can cause severe injury or worse.
Take note for signs of depression, including withdrawal from activities with others, sleep patterns, loss of interest in hobbies, lack of basic home maintenance or personal hygiene.
Has your parent always been tidy and a prompt bill payer? If you see clutter and mail that has piled up, a problem may exist. And by all means, check prescriptions and medication bottles for expiration dates; and make note of all prescriptions your family member takes and place that information in your personal files as well as the elder’s wallet in case of an emergency.
There may be other areas of concern, specific to your family member. Should this year’s holiday visit open your eyes to current and potential problems or negative changes in your parent’s physical or emotional state, then it’s time to put a plan of action in place. Read 20 more warning signs that might indicate your parent needs at home.
Steps to Take
Prepare a To-Do List. Begin compiling a to-do list to be implemented over a period of future visits. Keep records of medical information, health conditions, prescriptions and their doctor’s names and contact numbers, property ownership and debts, income and expenses, and bank account and credit card information.