The holidays are a time for getting together with family scattered across the globe, renewing friendships, taking in the sights and sounds of the holidays … and checking in on aging family members to see how well they are managing.
Its no coincidence that the busiest time for elder care options spikes around the holidays. That’s when relatives pick up on little details that let them know trouble is unfolding right before their eyes.
While its never easy to admit a relative is failing, it is important to recognize the first signs of trouble, and take action immediately to prevent further problems down the road. Here are a few things you can do.
Start With A Hug
What’s the first thing you do when you see loved ones for the first time in months? Give them a big hug. While you are hugging your parents or elderly relatives, use this as your first clue.
- Do you notice obvious weight loss? This can be a sign that they aren’t eating right, or are facing anything from depression to a disease like cancer.
- Can you notice increased frailty? As strength weakens, its also an indication of how well they can manage on their own. Are they more at risk for tripping and falling?
- Do you notice obvious weight gain? This could indicate they’ve changed their eating patterns – they eat more junk food and not enough fresh foods. Or it could be a sign of dementia; they may not remember eating, and therefore eat all the time.
- Strange body odor. Grooming habits can be a sign of memory trouble. If bathing and personal grooming becomes a chore, it may be one of the first things they “forget” to do.