Visiting your parents at the holidays can be an opportune time to watch for signs that they may require some assistance. Often our loved ones will reassure us during telephone conversations that they are fine- and they can be quite convincing! But most older adults do not want to admit they need help, or they cannot see it themselves. As you make your holiday visits this year, keep in mind these signs that your loved one may need assistance:

  • Changes in appearance – if they seem unkept, inappropriately dressed for the weather or occasion, or forgetting to wear items such as glasses or hearing aides
  • Obvious fluctuations in weight- gain or loss
  • Difficulty moving about- for example it is harder for them to get up out of a chair
  • The house seems out of order- unclean or obvious household tasks not being managed (garbage piling in garage, several light bulbs out, excessive clutter, items out of place)
  • Stacks of mail or unpaid bills lying around
  • Spoiled food in the fridge or lack of food in the cupboards
  • Medications not filled or out of date
  • Changes in mood or personality
  • Safety hazards- such as leaving the stove or iron on and walking away
  • Confusion or memory loss

If you notice any of these signs, a good next step is to plan a follow up visit to discuss your concerns with your loved one and identify ways you may be able to help. It is a good idea to ease your parent into the idea of getting assistance. Emphasize to your loved one that you are taking these steps to help ensure that he or she maintains their independence and is able to age in place long term. Your loved one might be more willing to accept help if they know it gives you peace of mind. Our Guide to Successful Aging in Place offers more guidance on starting this conversation and moving forward in the process. Download it today and if we can help you more with this, please give us a call at 703-539-6029.

About the Author: Pam Reynolds, CMC is the President and co-owner of Allegiance Aging Care Services. Pam has spent almost fifteen years working in senior care including long term care facilities and home health care. Her higher education is in Social Work, and she has been credentialed as both a certified Geriatric Care Manager and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Read more about Pam and her team of Aging Care Professionals here



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