Signs That a parent may need extra Assistance
Open hearts and open eyes over the holidays
The holidays are a time of joy and celebration, but this holiday season should also double as a time for reflection. It can be very difficult to know when to consider assisted living or when to consider memory care for your loved one – each person is unique, which means their needs and abilities also change in unique ways. Celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays with the family gives you an opportunity to observe how your parent or loved one is doing and judge whether they could use some extra assistance. One of the best gifts you can give is showing your loved ones you’re looking out for their best interests and well-being. When evaluating whether someone you care about could benefit from assisted living or memory care options, keep an eye out for these telltale signs.
Physical changes are the easiest to spot and can reveal a lot about your parent’s health. For starters, make a mental note of substantial changes in weight. Keep an eye out for major shifts in balance as well. Older adults will experience some changes in sleeping patterns as they age; however, drastic changes such as oversleeping or sleeping too little should be noted.
Be sure to observe their behavior throughout your visit – is your parent avoiding stairs? Always looking for a place to sit or catch their breath? Do you notice them wincing as they move or walk from place to place?
Physical appearance can also be another helpful indicator of your loved one’s well-being. Do they appear to be following their normal hygiene routine? Have you noticed excessive bruising that might mean they’ve fallen? These signs may indicate your loved one could benefit from physical assistance with activities of daily living.
Forgetfulness is normal, especially as adults age, but an abnormal amount of missteps, mistakes or mental lapses could be considered a warning sign of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Everyone is guilty of mixing up names from time to time, but forgetting names altogether is a bit more concerning and could happen around the holidays when the whole family gets back together.
More serious mistakes could be detrimental to their health – is your loved one forgetting to take their medication? Did they forget to turn off the stove or oven after helping prepare Thanksgiving dinner? Frequent memory slips might mean your loved one needs to be monitored and would benefit from memory care or medication management in assisted living.
Have you noticed a shift in mood since the last time you were together? The holidays are a time for smiles and high spirits. Is your loved one’s mood veering from that of good tidings and cheer? Do they appear lonely? Do they seem fulfilled? Without prying, you might ask if they feel they’d benefit from living in community full of new neighbors to meet and friends to make. Many single seniors acknowledge more social interaction would improve their days and bring greater purpose to their life.
You can deduce a lot about how a person lives from their environment. If you’re celebrating at your parent’s place, observe their tendencies and habits. Stacks of unpaid bills, expired or moldy food, or piled-up laundry are a few giveaways that your loved one might not be as attentive or detail-oriented as they once were.
Take this opportunity to scan the household for torn carpet, significant lips or grooves in the floor, or poorly placed items that could potentially trigger a stumble or fall. Do you need to add a handrail to a staircase or grab bars in the bathroom? Or is it time to consider a move to a safer, more manageable residence where assistance is at the ready?
A celebration of health and happiness
In the spirit of the season, it’s absolutely imperative to be thankful for that which we are given. The holidays should always be a celebration of health, happiness, and time spent surrounded by family and friends. No matter the age or abilities of your loved one, take some time to cherish all the years you’ve spent together forming holiday memories, and be grateful for all the memories to come.
But if you think it might be time for your loved one to look into assisted living or memory care, consider starting the conversation with them. Use this as an opportunity to tell them how much you care for them and the crucial role they play as part of the family. With the new year on the horizon, it might be the ideal time to make some adjustments and help your loved one explore assisted living and memory care options in Salt Lake City or options in Holladay, Utah.