The holidays are fast approaching and you’re once again able to spend time with your loved ones in person. The holidays are a time of warmth, joy, and love and for checking in with the people you love to see how they are truly doing. If you haven’t seen your aging relatives in a few months, or even longer, it’s vital to see how they’re doing both mentally and physically.
If you’re not spending time in your aging parent’s home every day, you may notice things that they do not. When you’re visiting this holiday season, keep an eye on a few factors that may indicate that your loved ones need to start having in-home care or that their in-home care needs are evolving. These indicators can help you decide what are the best options for your parents as they age.
The first and most important thing you should look for this holiday season is if they’re managing their self-care properly. Self-neglect can be an issue among the elderly and should be something that those around them are looking out for. But what are you supposed to look out for? What are the signs?
Start by looking at their living space. Maybe it’s even the house you grew up in or one you visit often. This can give you something to compare to when asking important questions.
- How do you feel in the house? Are you comfortable or uneasy about the living space?
- Is there enough heat or air conditioning to keep them comfortable?
- Is there enough food in the house?
- Is the house clean?
- Are basic appliances working or in need of repair?
After you’ve examined the home for signs of neglect, begin to ask questions about your parents.
Start with these:
- How is their overall hygiene?
- Are they losing or gaining weight?
- Are their clothes clean?
- Are there any significant behavior changes?
- Are there any untreated medical conditions that are obvious to you?
You know your parents better than anyone and will be able to spot the differences if there are any. It’s important to go into your visit with these questions in mind so that you can be aware and spot any signs of neglect or inattention. If you’re uncomfortable with the answers to these questions, then it may be time to consider bringing in support such as specialized in-home care or even a long term care solution.
If your parents are like most, then you’re probably used to them misplacing the car keys, saying “whatchamacallit” a lot, and mixing up your name with your siblings, or even worse, the dog! It happens to the best of us.
But in all seriousness, our memory declines as we age and it’s important to recognize in your own parents when forgetfulness could turn into a sign of something more serious.
Things to look out for when visiting this holiday season are repeatedly asking the same question, forgetting common words they normally use, getting lost in familiar places, misplacing items, and mood swings that seem to be without reason.
If memory loss is disrupting their quality of life it might be an early sign of dementia. If you do notice these signs and symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional while you’re with them for the holidays. Often, an in-home care provider can be a great source of comfort by customizing a memory care plan, creating stimulating activities and providing consistent social support.
There can be nothing more unsettling than thinking that a loved one might not be completely safe. This feeling of unease is amplified when you spend time in their home and have a chance to see their environment, which cannot be seen through Facetime and phone calls.
While you’re spending time at their home, perform a home safety check. You want the home to be easy to navigate for your aging parent while maintaining comfort and familiarity.
A good home safety check can reduce the likelihood of trips and falls and keeps areas where they’re walking well-lit and visible. The CDC has a comprehensive safety checklist to help identify some of the common areas of concern for tripping and falling, including floors, stairways, steps, kitchens, bathrooms and even bedrooms.
I’ve noticed things that worry me…now what?
Hopefully, your holiday season with your parents is as good as ever and you don’t notice anything that causes you worry. However, if you do come away from your holidays with concern about self-neglect, memory issues, safety, or any other concerns for your aging parent and don’t feel comfortable leaving them alone, then in-home care might be something you want to consider.
How do I find the right care for my parents?
At Golden Care, we take initiative in finding the right care for your parents and offer a free in-home assessment to figure out what’s the best fit for their situation. We believe finding a good partner for in-home care shouldn’t be a headache or overwhelming. Your focus should be on enjoying the holidays with them while we take care of the rest.
We hope you and your parents have a happy holiday season. And if you do decide that you want to talk about assisted care, we’re here for you 24/7.
For exceptional in-home care services that help your loved one stay safe in their home for as long as possible—call Golden Care. We’d love a chance to show you all of the benefits of in-home care.