The Holidays are a great time to assess your elderly loved ones’ care needs. This is when the family is all together, and you enjoy extended visits, especially if you live some distance from your loved one. While we would like to not think about our parents aging and potential limitations, we cannot stop the aging process. There are red flags that could indicate that your loved one needs some assistance. And the holidays are the perfect time for you to take notice.
Physical changes are the most obvious signs of decline. Have they lost weight? Are they having difficulties walking around or getting up and down from a chair? Is their Hair untidy? These are signs that they may be struggling.
This is when the elderly should be excited to see their children and grandchildren. But you could be met with the opposite reaction. They might appear anxious or agitated. This could signify that their emotional well-being is not at its best. If you realize that your loved ones prefer not to engage in the usual holiday traditions they once cherished, you may want to explore their emotional well-being further.
When the holiday hoopla is over, plan to spend some quiet time with them and have an in-depth talk about understanding what may be causing the behavior change. They may not admit that anything is wrong, but the difference in behavior could indicate that things are not okay.
Home Safety Needs
As your loved ones age, they may face age-related health complications. These complications could affect the way they walk, sit or even sleep. Certain areas should be assessed to ensure that they are comfortable and safe in their home, and changes should be made to decrease risks.
Are there enough bars in the bathrooms and on the stairs? Is their home well-maintained and free of clutter? Are there rugs that might pose a fall risk? Do they have a reliable means of calling for help in an emergency? Check the condition of smoke detectors, carbon detectors, and fire extinguishers. If any changes are necessary, make sure to make these changes immediately.
If you feel they can still drive, minimally ensure that their vehicle is safe to go. If the thought of them driving gives you anxiety, then you need to assess their ability to drive safely. The best way to do this is to ride with them. Are their reflexes quick enough to react if they need to stop quickly? Do they drive at the appropriate speed (too fast or too slow) for road conditions? Do they know the way to where they are going? Or do they get lost easily? Do they become easily distracted or have difficulty focusing? It would be wise also to check the condition of their vehicle. Are there dents or dings on the vehicle? Any damage to the car is an indication that their perception is off. It may be time to consider finding alternative driving options for them.
Check the Medicine Cabinet
To maintain good health, your loved one must take their medication as prescribed. Look at their medications to ensure that they are taking them correctly. Look at the refill date. Is the number of pills in the bottle appropriate based on that date? If you find that they are not taking them correctly, suggest a medication box and dose the drugs accurately for each day. You may also contact their pharmacist and ask if they offer daily pill pouches. You should continually review this area to ensure that they are taking their medications as prescribed. An overdose or underdose could be severe.
Check the Refrigerator
Taking a peek in their refrigerator could tell you more about their health than anything. Are the dates on foods expired? They may need to eat more regularly. Is the refrigerator empty? An empty refrigerator could mean they are not going to the grocery store. This could indicate that they are anxious to go out alone or worried about driving.
As your loved ones age, they will likely face health complications and increased difficulty with daily living activities. A little help early on could prevent the need for much help sooner. The holidays are an excellent opportunity to take notice. At Hope Senior Home Care, we offer free Care need assessments and an in-depth Home Safety Assessment. If you have concerns, call us today to discuss.