Getting together with family and friends is the hallmark of the holiday season. With the kids off from school and extended time away from the workplace, it’s the optimal chance for the generations to get together and enjoy some quality time. The holidays also serve as the opportune time to evaluate the health, safety and wellbeing of our older loved ones.
Particularly when our older loved ones live far away, it can be tough to recognize through telephone calls, emails, and even Skype exactly how they’re doing. An in-person visit is the easiest way to reveal any potential problems through simple observations in and around the residence. The senior care team at Home With You, the top Baltimore home care provider, shares the warning signs below to look for when visiting with older adults during the holiday season.
Changes in the Home
A home that has always been thoroughly clean and well maintained may have become cluttered and unsanitary. Mountains of clothing, stacks of mail, dirty dishes in the sink, and rotten or expired (or no) food in the refrigerator and cupboards can all point to the senior’s trouble with housekeeping and food shopping. Furthermore, scorch marks on pans could be the result of food left on the stove for too long – putting the senior at serious risk for harm. While it may be more difficult to evaluate, another frequent issue is the senior’s failure to take care of finances. Check 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 person appears unkempt with unmatching or unclean clothing and evidence of poor hygiene habits, she could be facing issues getting into or out of the bathtub; or, it could be the result of cognitive decline. Also observe whether the older adult has lost or gained weight without trying, which could be from a health concern that is in need of medical attention. And, if any bruises are noted, they could relate to a fall or even physical abuse. In all of these circumstances, a consultation with the primary care physician as soon as possible is warranted.
Changes in Personality
Pay close attention to any variances apparent in the senior’s state of mind and mental functioning. Does she seem reserved? Irritated? Forgetful? Has she become disinterested in activities and pursuits that were previously enjoyable for her? Is she having problems sleeping – either too much sleep or too little? Does she seem to be encountering mood swings? Is she engaged in social activities?
When changes such as these are observed, it may be time to start thinking about the assistance of a professional in-home senior elder care provider, such as Home With You. Our services are customized to meet each individual’s requirements, whether just a little help around the home with housework, meals and running errands, personal care assistance such as help with safe bathing and dressing, specialized care for those with cognitive difficulties, or even full-time, around-the-clock care.
To learn more about our Baltimore home care solutions, contact the senior elder care team at Home With You by calling (410) 654-3300.