Visiting Elderly Relatives over the Holidays?

One of the greatest blessings of the holiday season is gathering with friends and loved ones that we don’t normally see throughout the year. For some that means visiting with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. For others, the holidays are a rare chance to spend quality time with parents or siblings who live out of state.

This special holiday time together with loved ones also presents a unique opportunity to spot changes in older family members that may indicate a greater need for long-term care.

It’s not unusual for slight personality or behavior changes to go unnoticed by those who see your loved one on a regular basis. It’s much like living at home with small children; you don’t realize how much they’ve grown until their clothes no longer fit! The same is true with older relatives who may be changing in subtle, yet concerning ways.

What exactly should you be paying attention to as you visit with elderly family and friends? Here’s a brief list of warning signs that may indicate your loved one needs additional help around the house:

  • Neglect of physical appearance or basic hygiene
  • Neglect of medical needs
  • Trouble performing routine tasks or chores
  • Unsteadiness, clumsiness or recent history of falling
  • No longer responds to sounds or sudden loud noises
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing based on the weather

If your loved one displays any of the signs above, it’s important to address the situation as soon as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable going directly to your aging loved one, talk with other family members to see if they also noticed unusual behaviors or warning signs. From there you can approach your loved one together to discuss the possibility of increased care around the house.

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