The holidays give us the chance to go home and visit loved ones we may not have seen in a while. Living far away can be hard to know exactly how a senior loved one is really doing. If you are planning on visiting a senior parent or loved one, A Place for Mom highlights 5 things you should look out for. If you notice any of these signs, it may be an indicator that they might need a bit of extra help this upcoming year.
1. Piles of unopened mail. We all have busy schedules and prepping for the holidays can make us forget about the bills, but if you happen to see a pile of unopened mail, find out why, especially if it's been there for a while. Piles of unopened mail could be a sign of memory loss or financial problems.
If the reason why they haven't opened their mail is becasue they can’t read what’s inside the envelopes, take them to get an eye exam. If they’re just simply forgetting to open it, suggest having a family member or trusted friend to help them organize and pay their bills.
2. Damage to garage or vehicles. As we get older, driving becomes more difficult. If you happen to see any new or excessive dents to their vehicles, take a drive with them and see if they’re still suited to drive. Indications of someone no longer able to drive includes driving much more slowly, drifting across lanes and not looking when backing up. If that is the case, talk to them about different options when it comes to driving.
3. Check their image. If you notice that they’re not taking care of themselves the same way they used to (ie. dirty clothes, weight gain/loss), there is a chance there is a reason why.
Ask them what’s going on and suggest going to see a doctor. Cognitive impairment (memory loss) can cause them to forget to bathe frequently or to change clothes. If memory doesn’t seem to be the problem, mobility issues like arthritis can make things they used to do a lot more difficult. Speaking to a health professional will figure out what’s wrong and what the best solution is to overcome this obstacle.
4. How’s their pet? Similar to ourselves, pets also have to have the proper care. If you notice a change in how they’re caring for a pet, help may be needed. Dog walking services and mobile pet groomers and vets are a good option to help make sure their pet gets the care they need.
5. Check the condition of their home. If you notice that their housekeeping skills are not how they were since the last time you saw them, that could be a sign that they need some help. Spoiled food, mildew and/or mold are things to look out for. Consider hiring help to keep the house in order. If there is a family member or family friend nearby, see if they’re willing to help.
These are merely suggestions, please consult your health care professional if you notice any changes.