Sometimes we do not see our parents or aging loved ones as much as we would like. Especially after a pandemic, where life gets in the way and our responsibilities pull us in so many directions. We speak to mom or dad on the phone where tell us everything is fine. But is it really fine?
With the holidays here, it is time to take note of minor changes you may see while visiting your loved ones. After the turkey and pumpkin pie, take some time to assess what you are noticing.
Are they weary while navigating throughout their home or yours? Are they holding on to furniture and walls? Do they appear more confused with so many family members around? Did they eat less than usual? Do they look like they are not physically taking care of themselves the way they used to?
It may be time to look into this a little deeper.
Here Are Seven Things You Should Look for When You Visit Your Aging Loved One This Holiday Season:
- Difficulties with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, changing clothes, housework, or even just getting around.
- Social Isolation– Does your loved one stay at home with little social activity, or spend less time with friends that they used to see on a regular basis?
- Forgetfulness-Did your loved one forget to do the things they had been used to doing daily or have they been missing their doctor appointments lately?
- Loss of Appetite-Has your loved one been eating? If so, what have they been eating? If they can no longer cook for themselves and/or eat healthy foods, then it may be time to reach out to someone to help. Check their fridge to see how they are managing their nutrition needs.
- Weight Loss/Looking Frail– This is a sign that their bones may not be as strong as they used to be. If they fall the situation could escalate very quickly. For instance, have your loved one hold a cup of coffee or tea. Do they have the strength to hold it or is the cup shaking?
- Neglected Environment- An unorganized, cluttered, or messy home can be a sign that they cannot clean anymore, or it might be so cluttered that it can affect their own hygiene. Also look for: unopened bills and personal mail, a full voicemail box, an unmade bed, or expired food.
- Accessibility- Do they avoid the bedroom or bathroom on the second floor, so they do not have to use the stairs? Are they sleeping in their recliner chair to avoid using the bedroom?
If you see any signs listed above while visiting this holiday, it may be time to talk to your loved one about the next steps in their life to help keep them safe. Will they prefer to stay at home as they become less safe at home or is Assisted Living a better option for them? Maybe it is time for an Aging Life Care Professional? Do they have their legal documents in order with who will help them manage their finances when they are not able to do so on their own?
These are tough questions. It is not easy to start these conversations, but they are necessary. Do not wait until a crisis arises before you get involved. You can advocate for your loved one and empower them to be a part of the path of care they choose long before the need shows itself.
Use the holiday as a time to be able to assess your loved one’s safety. Angelion Mobility is here if you need help with this. If you have concerns, we can do a Home Safety Assessments to make recommendations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to answer your questions.