Home for the holidays with Mom and Dad? Notice anything different from your last visit? Gathering together with family for the holidays is a good time to find out how an older loved one is doing, assess his or her living situation, and notice any warning signs that help may be needed at home. The following are some tips from Regency Home Care Atlanta to help family members recognize warning signs that care is required while visiting over the holidays.
A change in eating habits or unexplained weight loss can be a sign that something is wrong. For older adults, losing weight without trying could be related to many factors, including:
- Difficulty cooking. The person could be having difficulty finding the energy to cook, grasping the tools necessary to cook, reading labels or directions on food products, or getting groceries into the home.
- Loss of taste or smell. Some loss of taste and smell is natural with aging, especially after age 60. In other cases, illness or medication contributes to loss of taste or smell. The person might not be interested in eating if food doesn’t taste or smell as good as it used to.
- Underlying conditions. Sometimes weight loss is a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as malnutrition, dementia, depression, or cancer.
Is your loved one wearing dirty clothes? Have you noticed a change in the way he is taking care of himself? Failure to keep up with daily routines—such as bathing, tooth brushing, and other basic grooming—could indicate health problems such as dementia, depression, or physical impairments.
State of the Home
Have you noticed that your loved one’s lawn is overgrown? Is there an abundance of clutter in the home? Are the heat and AC working? Any big changes in the way things are done around the house could provide clues to health. For example, scorched pots could mean forgetting about food cooking on the stove. Neglected housework could be a sign of depression, dementia, or other problems.
Forgetfulness and/or inappropriate behavior can also be a sign that care is needed. Things like forgotten or unopened mail, unfilled prescriptions, unpaid bills, or making unusual purchases are signs to watch out for in an older loved one.
If any of these signs are noted and raise concerns, bring them to the attention of the person’s physician and consider additional elder care in the home. Regency Home Care provides professional home care services in Atlanta and the surrounding areas, such as meal preparation, personal care, transportation and Alzheimer’s care. Whether the needs are daily, weekly, temporary or long‑term, contact us today to learn how we can help your family.