This time marks an opportunity when visiting loved ones to look and see what is happening in their lives. In most cases, older adults are determined to conceal or downplay any age related decline or issues that happen quickly. This can mean new or worsening problems that seniors may be having. For many families, holiday visits are the only opportunity they get all year to see aging loved ones in person, so it’s important to pay close attention to physical and mental health and their living situation. For this reason, visits during the holidays can reveal a great deal about our aging loved ones.  Here are some of the signs to look for in order to know if it is time for home care or other changes.

Signs of Age-Related Decline to Look for During Holiday Visits

Weight Loss

One of the most obvious signs of ill health is weight loss. Possible causes could include cancer, dementia or depression. Seniors may experience lower energy levels or fatigue, which can make it challenging to shop for and prepare nutritious meals and then clean up afterwards. If weight loss is evident, consider scheduling a doctor’s appointment to address the issue.

Changes in Balance and Mobility

Keep an eye out to the way your loved one moves and how they walk. Changes in gait or obvious pain during movement can be a sign of joint, muscle or neurological problems. If your loved one is unsteady on their feet, they may be at risk of falling. Many times they have been experiencing frequent falls and have not been telling anyone.

Change in Mood and Behavior

You can’t always determine someone’s emotional being over the telephone, even if you speak daily. Look for signs of depression and anxiety, including withdrawal from social activities, changes in sleep patterns, loss of interest in hobbies, and changes in basic home maintenance and personal hygiene.

When to discuss concerning issues

Begin with a conversation with your loved one to see how you can help. Consider making an appointment with their primary care physician for a complete health assessment.

Look at your loved ones daily schedule. Determine if they feel household chores, laundry and/or bathing, are areas that a caregiver could help them in their home a couple times a week. Talk with them and let them know this could help prolong their stay in the home in a safe manner.

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