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Going Home for the Holidays? Look for 10 Signs Your Seniors Might Need Some Assistance.
WEST HARTFORD, CT – If you’re looking forward to reconnecting and reminiscing with family and friends again this holiday season, you also know there are bound to be a few surprises and a little stress mixed in.
Going home for the holidays is among the most special family times. It’s also an opportune time to look for signs that your older family members might be ready for some help around the house.
Many seniors will eventually require some level of care and assistance with daily living. However, they may find it difficult to ask for help, or not even realize that they need it. Those who value their independence and privacy do not wish to be a burden on others. So, you may have to find ways to start a conversation about caregiving assistance. The following is a list of signs to help quickly identify potential areas of concern for senior family members and friends:
- Behavior. Do they have difficulty remembering names, places and current events? Do they seem anxious, irritable or depressed?
- Daily Tasks. Does it seem that basic tasks, such as going grocery shopping and preparing meals, have becoming overly challenging or time consuming?
- Driving. Are there unexplained scratches or dents on the car?
- Finances. Are the bills paid and is the checkbook balanced?
- Food/Nutrition. Is there a variety of foods in the cabinets and refrigerator? Is there a lot of expired food in the fridge or in the cabinets? Do you notice any visible weight loss or gain?
- Hygiene. Are the rooms in the home, clothing, bed linens, bath towels, pets and personal appearance all looking clean and smelling fresh?
- Mail. Is the mail stacking up or unopened? Do you see any past due notices?
- Medical Condition. Has there been a recently diagnosed illness or injury that might affect the normal ability to function?
- Medication. Are prescriptions being refilled in a timely fashion? Are medications being taken properly, including dosage and frequency?
- Safety. Are doors and windows kept locked? Are appliances and lights turned off before bedtime, and candles or cigarettes extinguished?
If you have any concerns, even with one issue, it may be time to take a more active role. Trust your instincts. Begin by sharing your concerns in a respectful, non-threatening manner. Then, identify your options. If you see signs that your family members may be struggling at home, and you can’t be there to help as often as may be needed, you can still be proactive and help them ease into a lifestyle transition. You may suggest hiring a home care agency to provide assistance with daily activities, as well as conversation and companionship for a few days a week. You might also consider joining a community support group and networking with other families who are dealing with similar issues.
Julianne Roth is founder and President of Companions for Living in West Hartford, CT, a home care agency that enables older adults and disabled individuals to remain at home safely and independently. For more information about Companions for Living, and to make an appointment for a personal consultation, please call (860) 882-0802 or visit www.companionsforliving.com.