Everything changes when you don’t see relatives throughout the year. The kids get older. Families grow and change. And if your elderly parents have hidden away how they’re really doing, a holiday visit can reveal things that may surprise you.
Notable changes in appearance behavior, or even their living environment can signal potential problems. And the more you notice, the more you can help with creating changes that will leave them safer and more comfortable.
If you notice changes, dig a little deeper to determine if they need assistance.
Start by observing their daily lifestyles:
- Do they still practice healthy hygiene?
- Are their clothes clean, well kept, appropriate for the weather?
- Has there been significant weight gain or loss?
- Can they maneuver through the home with ease?
- Do you notice cuts, bruises, or out of the ordinary health issues?
- Do they still talk about friends and neighbors?
- Are they still part of social groups they’ve loved?
- Do they seem forgetful in conversation?
- Do they seem withdrawn or sad?
- Is their living environment in disrepair?
- Are there changes in the cleanliness of their home?
- Is there spoiled or outdated food in the fridge or pantry?
- Does their car have dents or scratches?
Small issues might not be a problem. But the more you begin to notice, the more you should explore. If you have concerns, it’s vital to open a conversation with your parents and loved ones. Remain open and curious without being judgmental about the process. What may seem to be a problem to you may have a logical explanation.
Wearing light sweaters instead of heavy winter clothes may just have been an oversight on your dad’s part if he’s been busy with his groups and clubs.
It can be difficult for a person who has had a lifetime of independence to suddenly realize they need a little help. What may be a red flag for you may just be something they’ve adjusted to over time.
Caregiving often isn’t something you dive into full time. It’s often a gradual process, releasing one area at a time.
Consider what is important to your loved one. What are they willing to give up to continue to have a good quality of life? What are they willing to do to remain at their optimal health levels? Sometimes a gentle nudge to show them the difference will be all it takes.
Need a little help communicating with your parents? Having a third party is often a solution to keep the conversation flowing freely. We can help.