Tips for Recognizing Senior Care Needs Over the Holidays

happy family preparing holiday meal

Recognize senior care needs over the holidays with these tips.

The holidays are special because they bring family members from far and wide back together to celebrate over a big meal and a lot of laughter and joy. With many families being apart over the past 18 months due to the pandemic, this holiday season may be the first opportunity in some time where everyone can gather. The holidays also offer the perfect opportunity to assess senior care needs and how aging parents are managing daily life.

Take time to recognize changes such as the ones below that may indicate additional help is needed in order for older loved ones to remain safe.

Changes in Appearance or Physical Capabilities

  • Lack of appetite, poor eating habits, difficulty eating, and/or a poorly stocked refrigerator or pantry
  • Decline in personal hygiene, infrequent showers/bathing, unkempt hair, poor oral hygiene, wearing soiled clothes, and/or dressing inappropriately for the season/weather
  • Bruises, scrapes or other injuries that may indicate falls or changes in mobility

Changes in Behavior or Cognitive Abilities

  • Loss of interest in once loved activities, hobbies or other interests
  • Increased agitation
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Difficulty keeping track of time
  • Forgetfulness, confusion

Changes in Household Management

  • Stacks of unopened mail and/or unpaid bills
  • Cookware with burn marks which could indicate an inattention to cooking tasks
  • Clutter and/or hoarding
  • Unfilled prescriptions
  • Difficulty maintaining outdoor areas, overgrown lawn, snow removal, etc.
  • Signs of unsafe driving such as dents or scratches to a vehicle

If you notice any of these signs, they could be an indication that an aging loved one needs assistance around the house in order to remain safe and independent. It may be difficult for your aging parent to be forthcoming about the challenges he or she has been experiencing, so it’s important to approach the conversation in a respectful manner.

Here are some questions you might ask to gauge the needs of aging parents:

  • Is there anything around the house you’d like help with while I’m here
    This allows you to lend a helping hand while also getting a sense of what household chores your aging parent may need ongoing assistance with.
  • I noticed your back seems to be bothering you. Is everything OK?
    Framing the question this way not only shows that you care, but it provides an ideal opportunity for a loved one to open up about any other physical changes he or she has been experiencing.
  • You’re running out of a few things in the kitchen. Would you like me to go grocery shopping for you?
    This allows you to help stock the fridge and pantry and also opens up the opportunity to discuss any changes to eating habits or mobility that may be impacting regular shopping and/or cooking.

Based upon your observations and the responses to these questions, it may be appropriate to partner with a trusted home care agency, such as Visiting Care Giving Services. We offer a wide range of in-home care services, including personal care assistance, companionship, dementia care, light housekeeping, and more. All of our services are fully customizable to meet the individual needs of your loved one so that he or she can remain safe, independent, and comfortable throughout the year.

If you’d like to learn more about our home care, including our Chesterfield companion services, contact us online or at (636) 493‑9058 to set up a complimentary in‑home consultation today. For a complete list of communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.