The Holidays are a time when we visit elderly friends and family that we may haven’t seen in a while. While it might not be a popular subject to discuss over Thanksgiving dinner, it is a good time to make sure your loved one is safe. This article will discuss our top 4 causes of concern to watch for when visiting your elderly loved one.

  1. Weight Loss. Significant weight loss can signal health problems that include depression, dementia, and cancer. Some seniors may feel more fatigue and place less purpose on shopping and preparing nutritious foods, especially if they live alone. Other seniors may be experiencing side effects from new medicines or the mismanagement of medicines.
  2. Mobility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an millions of elderly are treated at emergency departments each year for fall-related injuries like hip fractures. Watch to see if your loved one is having trouble getting around. They could be holding onto furniture, or avoiding stairs. Also, look for and ask about any visible scratches or bruising.
  3. Mood. Seniors living alone are more likely to be depressed, and it’s not always easy to identify. Watch and listen for signs of depression. Signs may include a distancing from friends and social events, less interest in hobbies, decline in cleanliness of the home, piles of mail, and trouble sleeping.
  4. Personal Care. A decline in hygiene is also a significant cause for concern when visiting with your elderly loved one. The inability or lack of desire to shower, get dressed, comb hair, and/or brush teeth are signs that your loved one needs help.

While the family may be engaged in the joy of holidays, it’s important to find time to communicate your observations. Open communication will help lessen or avoid a future emergency situation if one should arise.  You will want to identify the friends and family who can support your loved one, as well as understand the care needed now, as well as create a plan for the future.