Seeing your parents over Thanksgiving? Tips to make sure they are doing ok

Many of us will see our parents or grandparents over the Thanksgiving Holiday.  This is a good time to make sure that your aging loved ones are still doing ok.   Physical and Mental abilities can deteriorate fast for the elderly, so it is important to watch for signs that they need help.  Before you go visit your family this holiday season make sure to take a look at these signs.

Signs to Look out For

  • Weight loss
    • Have your parents lost weight since you last saw them?  This could be a sign that they are having difficulties with cooking, that they have had a loss of taste or smell, or it could be a sign of another underlying condition.
  • Appearance
    • Do their clothes look clean? Do they look like they are keeping up with their personal hygiene needs? If they are not, this could be an indication of dementia, depression or other physical impairment.
  • Their Home
    • Has their home not kept up like it used to? Any major changes can indicate a difficulty with keeping up with maintenance or housework demands, which can also be a sign of dementia, depression or other problems.
    • Are they safe in their home?  Have they fallen recently? Can they read the instructions on their medications?  If not, it may be time to evaluate if they need help within their home or if they need to moved into some form of senior housing.
  • Mood
    • How are they doing emotionally?  Are they still connecting with friends? What activities are they doing?  Radical changes in mood, and/or social behavior might be an indication of depression or other health concern.
  • Mobility
    • How are they walking?  Do they have difficulty getting around or make excuses not to go normal distances?  This could indicate that they are at an increased risk for falls, and it may be time to consider a cane, walker, or wheelchair.

What Can you Do?

  • Talk with them.  Share your concerns and offer suggestions for ways you can find solutions together.
  • Encourage trips to the doctor.  Regular check ups will help monitor signs of depression, dementia or other physical issues.
  • Address safety issues.  Point out the problems you have noticed in their home and lifestyle, and help them find solutions.
  • Contact their Doctor.   If your parents refuse to make any changes, or brush off your concerns,  you should contact their doctor.  Your insights might help him/her know what to monitor in upcoming visits.

For more information check out the Mayo Clinic which can provide you with more helpful tips for keeping your aging loved ones safe.

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