Holiday Visits: The Perfect Time to Check on Aging Loved Ones

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The holiday season is a time for family get-togethers. We visit with relatives we may not otherwise see throughout the year.  But, what if you notice that an aging loved one is different than your last visit?  Perhaps he is more forgetful or more anxious than usual.  Or maybe the house isn’t as clean as it typically has been.  Are these changes cause for concern?

It’s important to note that many of us feel stress and overwhelm during the holiday season.  So, not all behavior changes are serious. However, if you begin to notice a pattern, it may be time to make a plan for help.

8 Things to Consider When Checking on Aging Loved Ones:

  • Garage / Cars – are there any signs of fender benders, like scratches or dings?
  • Kitchen – is the refrigerator full of fresh food? Are home-delivered meals being eaten?
  • Bedroom – is it as clean or messy as it always has been? Is laundry piling up?
  • Bathroom – are there are a lot new medications; or are prescriptions being filled appropriately?
  • Physical appearance – have they lost or gained weight? Are they wearing appropriate clothing for the season or elements?
  • Mail – is it piling up? Have the bills been paid?
  • Overall attitude – do they enjoy foods or activities as they always have or are their preferences changing?
  • Abnormal behavior – depression, anxiety, forgetting names or losing car keys

If you notice some of the behaviors above, consult with other family members like your own siblings or your parents’ siblings to determine if they have noticed similar behaviors. Check in with neighbors or church friends who may see your parents more frequently to learn whether there is a pattern or perhaps these were one-time behaviors due to the stressful holiday season. If you think professional assistance may be necessary, call FSL’s Care by Design team. The care coordinators and social workers can make suggestions for resources that may be able to help in a variety of situations. We offer in-home consultations that include home safety inspections, fall risk evaluations and short- and long-term care planning.

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