Tips on how to utilize the holiday season to help figure out if additional care for aging parents is necessary and beneficial to all involved.

It is common for seniors to say “everything is fine” when asked by family members. They do not want to bother their children knowing how busy they are.  The holidays provide an ideal time to take note of how they are doing, especially if it has been quite some time since being together with senior loved ones. It is easy to miss subtle (or not-so-subtle) signs, with frenzied schedules or long distances separating families for much of the year.  Keep in mind that checking for any warning signs is not being judgmental; it is a check for wellness, wellbeing, and safety. Be on the lookout during holiday visits for Warning Signs That Help At Home Is Needed. Look for the following indications that additional care for aging parents or other senior loved ones could be necessary:

Outward Appearance:

Observing an unexpected disheveled presentation of a senior loved one may occur during a holiday visit. Neglecting to keep up with daily cleanliness routines such as bathing, brushing teeth and other basic grooming might suggest health complications such as depression, dementia, or other physical impairments. Look to see if clothes are clean and if the person appears to be maintaining good grooming habits.

Weight Loss:

At the dinner table, the senior’s appetite may appear to be just fine during the holiday celebrations. However, significant weight loss without trying can be a sign that something is not right. Especially with the elderly, many factors can cause weight loss, including loss of taste or smell, or difficulty cooking. Many times unexplained weight loss is a sign of an underlying condition that is more serious, such as poor nutrition, dementia, or depression. Read more about Healthy Nutrition for Seniors: Overcoming the Challenges.

Home Appearance:

Any significant fluctuations from normal around the senior’s house could offer clues to health. For example, burned pans could mean forgetting about food cooking on the stove. Unattended housework could be a sign of depression, dementia, or other issues. Check to see if the lights are working, the heat is on, and the bathrooms are clean. Also, make sure there is no clutter blocking the walkways of the senior’s home.

If any of these Warning Signs That Senior Care Services Are Needed, or any other overall mood changes are noted, it is time to talk about care options. Although it might seem easier to wait to have tough conversations until after the holiday season, it is far better not to wait until a real crisis strikes. Be reasonable with expectations of this discussion, and realize that the senior may protest the conversation initially. The most important thing at this time is to open the lines of communication.

Need help with initiating the Home Care conversation with a loved one this holiday season? Or, not sure what type of care for aging parents would be best? Reach out to the senior care experts at Hibernian Home Care by filling out our Contact Us Form, or by calling (732) 481-1148. Our Registered Nurse and Certified Case Manager is available to help by offering a no-obligation consultation by phone or in the home. Learn more about our Home Care Services provided throughout both Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey.