At this time of year when families are gathering, it is a good opportunity to check on elderly loved ones. By interacting with your parent or loved one, and watching them go about their day to day activities during an extended holiday party or event, you can identify changes in their health, behavior and abilities that you might not be able to detect through a phone call or regular visit. Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home care Philadelphia, offers a few warning signs that may indicate that a loved one needs a helping hand.
1. They forget simple daily tasks and activities
Memory issues can be common among the elderly, and misplacing frequently used items is bound to happen. However, putting objects in the completely wrong place, such as the phone in the refrigerator, could signal a more serious memory condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Other signs of memory conditions could be repeating the same story within minutes, or performing the same task over and over. In these cases, your loved one is likely saying or doing the same things over and over because they’ve forgotten what’s just happened.
2. They seem withdrawn and unhappy
Depression is one of the most common conditions among seniors, and the holidays in particular can bring up a case of holiday blues as seniors may be saddened by the loss of loved ones, or changes in abilities and health. At first glance, it may seem that your loved one is simply in a bad mood. However, it’s important to probe deeper to see if they are concerned about something in particular. Take this time to discuss how they can stay social. Perhaps you or another family member can drop in more often, or maybe you can suggest a companion caregiver who can provide care and companionship on a part time basis to boost mood and outlook.
3. They have bruises and scrapes
Bruising can sometimes be caused by medications, but excessive bruising can indicate health problems that can lead to falling. Ask your loved one if they have had any trouble navigating the home, and check for trip hazards such as extra clutter in the hallways, electrical cords strewn across rooms, or furniture that obstructs doors. It may be time to de-clutter the home.
4. They have gained or lost a lot of weight
When you haven’t seen a person in awhile, it can sometimes feel as if they look completely different then you remember. However, weight loss and gain is a common problem among seniors and both can be attributed to malnutrition. Perhaps your loved one no longer has the ability to drive to get fresh produce or is having trouble lifting pots and pans and navigating the kitchen. Taste sensation also declines as part of the natural aging process, and your loved one may be skipping meals simply because they are not satisfying.
Make sure your aging parents and loved ones are healthy, safe and happy this holiday season. If you are concerned that they may need extra help, reach out to Home Care Assistance of and learn how our trained and compassionate caregivers can help with a wide range of daily activities from nutritious meal preparation and light housekeeping to medication reminders and reliable transportation. Call 215-645-4663 for more information about hourly or 24 hour care in Philadelphia, or schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.