Ahhh… the holidays. A time to gather and celebrate. It is also a time to visit our senior loved ones, and we want to remind you to be mindful of things that should raise concerns about physical and/or cognitive decline. It is very important to secure their safety and re-evaluate their current living situations. Often seniors are too proud to ask for help, and the holiday visit may be your only indication that they are in dire need of care.
During your visit, do a quick inventory of these few things to make sure your loved ones are living in a safe place.
- Check the Refridgerator – Is there spoiled/expired food? Is there food? Malnutrition and being unable to care for oneself is a sign of cognitive decline.
- Look around the desk or secretary – Are there any unpaid bills? Finding a stack of unpaid bills or documents in disarray can be a sign of cognitive decline.
- Check the car and garage– Are there any dings? This could be a sign that your loved one’s eyesight is declining. It may be time to have a conversation about driving moving forward.
- How does the house look? A messy house or signs of hoarding where there wasn’t any previously can be a sign of depression or a cognitive decline.
- Is your senior loved one still able to utilize all the rooms in their house like normal? Often seniors in physical decline will restrict themselves to using only one or two rooms in the house, this can be a sign that it may be too difficult to get from room to room, and downsizing may be needed.
- Is your loved one stable? Look for increased weakness and “furniture surfing”- depending on furniture, cabinets, and walls for support. This may indicate that your loved one is at an increased fall risk and should consider a cane/walker or minimally an emergency pendant system in case of a fall.
Seeing loved ones over the holidays is what makes the season so special. We hope you have time this December to spend time with your loved ones and encourage you to take a close look at your senior loved ones living situations. If you do notice any of the things we’ve listed above, please reach out to us to discuss the situation. We can arm you with resources to keep them safe at home or look at senior living community options to compare. And don’t forget to check out our blog next week, we will talk about how to start “the conversation” about long-term care planning with your senior loved ones.