Getting together with relatives is the hallmark of the holidays. With the kids off from school and extended time away from the workplace, it’s the ideal occasion for the generations to come together and enjoy some quality time. It also serves as the opportune time to check in on the health, safety and wellbeing of our older family members.
Especially when our senior loved ones live far away, it can be hard to recognize through phone calls, emails, and even Skype precisely how they’re doing. An in-person visit is the most effective way to uncover any potential issues through simple observations in and around the senior’s home. The senior elder care team at Enhanced Home Care, providers of the senior care Overland Park KS families trust, offers the warning signs to watch for when spending time with older adults during the holidays.
Changes in the Home
A home that’s typically been thoroughly clean and well maintained may have become cluttered and unsanitary. Piles of laundry, stacks of mail, dirty dishes in the sink, and spoiled or expired (or no) food in the fridge and cupboards can all suggest the senior’s trouble with housecleaning and food shopping. In addition, scorch marks on pots could be the result of food left on the stove for too long – putting the senior at serious risk for danger. Although it may be more difficult to assess, another frequent concern is the older person’s inability to take care of finances. Look for unopened letters and unpaid bills, or any conversation about the utilities being turned off or bill collectors phoning.
Changes in Appearance
If the older adult seems unkempt with mismatched or dirty clothing and indications of poor personal hygiene practices, she could be struggling with problems getting into or out of the tub; or, it could possibly be the result of cognitive decline. Also note whether the senior has lost or gained weight without trying, which could be related to a health concern that needs medical attention. And, if any bruises are noted, they could be the result of a fall or even physical abuse. In each of these situations, an appointment with the primary care physician as soon as possible is warranted.
Changes in Personality
Pay close attention to any variances noticed in the senior’s mood and mental functioning. Does she come across as reclusive? Irritated? Forgetful? Has she become uninterested in hobbies and interests that had previously been enjoyable for her? Is she having trouble sleeping – either too much sleep or too little? Does she appear to be encountering mood swings? Is she interested in social activities?
When changes such as these are noted, it may be time to look into the assistance of a professional in-home senior elder care provider, such as Enhanced Home Care. Our services are individualized to meet each person’s needs, whether just a little help around the home with housework, meals and errand-running, personal care assistance such as help with safe showering and dressing, specialized care for those with cognitive difficulties, or even full-time, around-the-clock care.