Spending time with loved ones is the hallmark of the holidays. With the kids off from school and extended time off from work, it’s the perfect chance for the generations to get together and enjoy each other’s company. It also serves as the opportune time to check in on the health, safety and wellbeing of our older loved ones.
Specifically when our aging loved ones live at a distance, it can be challenging to identify through phone calls, emails, and even Skype precisely how they’re doing. An in-person visit is the easiest way to reveal any potential concerns through simple observations in and around the senior’s home. The senior elder care team at Live Free Home Health Care, the top providers of in home care Franklin seniors need, offers the following red flags to watch for when spending time with older adults during the holiday season.
Changes in the Home
A home that’s regularly been sparkling clean and well maintained may have become messy and unsanitary. Piles of clothing, stacks of mail, dishes in the sink, and rotten or expired (or no) food in the fridge and cupboards can all indicate the senior’s problems with housekeeping and food shopping. Furthermore, burn marks on pots could be the result of food left on the stove for too long – placing the senior at serious risk for danger. Though it may be difficult to determine, another frequent concern is the older adult’s lack of ability to manage finances. Look for unopened letters and unpaid bills, or any talk about the utilities being turned off or bill collectors phoning.
Changes in Appearance
If the older person looks unkempt with unmatching or dirty clothing and indicators of poor personal hygiene behaviors, she may be experiencing difficulties getting into or out of the bathtub; or, it might be the result of cognitive decline. Also note whether the older adult has lost or gained weight without trying, which could be caused by a health concern that demands medical attention. And, if any bruises are evident, they could indicate falling or even physical abuse. In all of these instances, an appointment with the primary care physician as soon as possible is warranted.
Changes in Personality
Pay close attention to any differences apparent in the senior’s mood and mental functioning. Does she appear to be reclusive? Agitated? Forgetful? Has she become disinterested in pastimes and interests that used to be enjoyable for her? Is she having difficulty sleeping – either too much or too little? Does she seem to be affected by mood swings? Is she involved in socializing?
When changes such as these are noted, it may be time to start thinking about the assistance of a professional in-home senior elder care provider, such as Live Free Home Health Care. Our services are personalized to meet each senior’s needs, whether just a little help around the home with housework, meals and running errands, personal care assistance such as help with safe bathing and dressing, specialized care for those with cognitive difficulties, or even full-time, 24/7 care.