Visiting your parents over the holidays? You need to read this.


With the holidays approaching, many of us are making plans to visit family members we might not see often. And when we don’t see loved ones every day, we sometimes notice that things have changed since the last get together.


I recently met a woman who owns a home health care firm.  She told me her busiest times of year are right after Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Labor Day.  Why?  That’s when people go visit their elderly relatives after months of not seeing them and notice things are a little off.


What are some common symptoms that indicate a loved one could use some help in the home?


Seclusion and Loss of Interest.

Ask you loved one if they have been seeing their friends lately.  How is the golf game?  If you sense a lack of response, it could be a pre-cursor of Alzheimer’s or maybe depression.


Weight Loss.

Attaining proper nutrition is harder for the elderly, especially if they are having trouble getting to the grocery store.  Poor eyesight can lead to fear of using the stove.  Look in the refrigerator and pantry for spoiled food.  Your loved one could be making himself sick by eating rotten food.


Declining personal hygiene.

Wearing stained clothes or not bathing regularly are also signs of dementia.  Your loved one may think he just did laundry or took a shower this morning when it’s actually been a few days.


Difficulty moving around.

My mother always says that the worst four-letter word for an older person is “f-a-l-l.”  And she is right, falls are the leading cause of ER visits for people aged 65 and older.  Poor eyesight, arthritis, hearing loss leading to balance problems can all put your loved one at a risk for a fall.

Inattention to finances or falling prey to scams.

If you notice big checks being written to unknown parties or overdue notices for bills in the mail, it’s time to step in and protect your relative from themselves and others.


On that happy note, enjoy your trip to visit your folks for the holidays!

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