Holiday get-togethers can raise questions about the health and well-being of aging loved ones. This season may be a time that some family members who haven’t visited in a long time have a chance to see grandma or dad. If a gathering takes place at your aging loved one’s home, it may give visiting family members an opportunity to evaluate health and safety issues together.
It’s a good time to prompt conversation with your loved one about how they are feeling, and be alert for signs that your relative may need increased support. Signs to look for include:
- Trouble with balance when walking, getting up from a chair or using stairs
- Weight loss or gain
- Decrease in attention to personal hygiene
- Sad mood or expressions of hopelessness
- Recent injuries such as cuts, bruises or burns
- Forgetfulness and losing things
- Neglect of housekeeping
- Piles of unopened mail, newspapers or bills
- Late notices for utilities or other bills
- Old and expired food
- Overuse or underuse of medications
If you notice any of these things, it may be time to talk as a family – not at the holiday gathering, but soon – about changes to ensure the safety and happiness of your loved one.