A Holiday Wellbeing Checklist for Seniors
The holiday season is upon us. This special time of year brings family and friends together under one roof to give thanks and celebrate. If your holiday celebrations include seniors, it’s a perfect time to check in on their wellbeing to see if they are thriving or need additional assistance. If you are visiting a senior you see only occasionally, you may see changes that are missed by those who see them every day.
Look out for the following when you visit with your senior loved ones this holiday season:
Emotional changes: During the holidays, seniors are at a higher risk for elderly depression. Has your loved one withdrawn from any of their favorite holiday traditions, like church services or community events? Is your loved one drinking more, or sleeping excessively?
Physical changes: Physical changes are often the easiest to spot. Has your mother’s appearance changed (e.g. weight loss, disheveled hair, stained clothing)? Does your father have trouble walking? Does your loved one show signs of forgetfulness or memory loss?
Home safety needs: Does your loved one’s home provide enough support for their changing needs? Are there grab bars in the bathroom and rails on every staircase to help prevent falls? Does your parent have a reliable way to call for help in case of a fall or other emergency? Is mom’s home clean and well maintained with properly functioning smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors?
Transportation needs: Is your parent still driving, and able to do so safely? Look for recent dents in their car. Do they have other ways to get to the grocery store and pharmacy when roads are icy or the driveway is blocked with snow? Are there reliable transportation services available when your loved one can no longer drive?
If you notice any of these changes, or find your parent has changing needs, it’s important to talk with them and with other family members and caregivers. There are many options for additional support, ranging from in home care and senior transportation services to senior living. Don’t put off the discussion, because the earlier you have the conversation, the more options you will have.