It’s that time of year again when many adult children come home for the holidays and see their parents for the first time in months. Many come home to find their moms and dads are a little different from how they remember; perhaps they’re moving a bit more slowly, or their grooming habits are not as pristine as they used to be. Whatever the case may be, the holiday season is a good opportunity to observe changes your parents are experiencing. The following are a few signs—some major, some minor—that it might be time to discuss in-home care for those you love.
Frequent accidents or close calls
Everybody trips now and then, but if you notice your mom or dad seems to be stumbling more often than they used to, it might be time to consider having someone keep an eye on them. Also, if a parent does take a spill, does it take longer for them to recover? Is their coordination dwindling?
Noticeable weight gains or loss
Weight fluctuations could be a sign something isn’t right. Hug your loved ones to see if they feel thinner, and take a close look at their clothes to see if they’re looser. Weight loss can be a sign of malnutrition or depression. On the other hand, f there is noticeable weight gain, it could be a sign that an injury is slowing them down or they’re simply more lethargic. Weight loss or gain may also indicate money problems as people tend to purchase cheaper, unhealthier foods when they have less money to spend.
Changes in grooming habits
Did your mother always dress to the nines, but now seem a bit more disheveled? Is there an odd odor coming from your dad? Changes in appearance or general hygiene could indicate that a person’s dexterity is diminishing (trouble with buttons, ironing, etc.) or their memory may be fading (forgetting to bathe).
Disinterest in social activities
Does your mom or dad prefer to stay in, alone, when they used to enjoy going out with friends? Disengagement of social activities can indicate a range of issues, including depression, heart problems, memory loss, or physical ailments or injury that cause your loved one to shy away from going out. In a worst case scenario, it’s important to know your loved ones have somebody they can call in case of emergency. If their social circles are thinking, it’s a good idea to have an in-home caregiver available to help.
There are many more signs to look for as you spend time with your family during the winter holidays: as you’re driving to the mall on Black Friday, check the dashboard of their car to see if any warning lights have been ignored, such as gas or oil; look signs of fire or expired food in the kitchen—maybe an abnormal amount of frozen dinners in the freezer—while you’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner; see if there are unopened bills among the Christmas cards on the table.
If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s probably time to talk to your parents about in-home senior care like that provided by Assisting Hands. Gauge their reactions, and don’t be surprised if they react negatively at first. Call Assisting Hands to learn more about how to approach the subject, and find out more about the warning signs that could indicate it’s time to have someone look after your loved ones when you’re away.