If you are traveling home during the holiday season, then you should know that this is the ideal time to check up on your aging parent in order to see how they are doing. It can be easy for family members to miss signs of health decline in aging parents, especially if you aren’t around all the time; but when you are home for the holidays this year, keep the following important signs of health decline in mind. If one or more of these signs are present, it may be time to consider some type of in-home caregiving.
1. Poor hygiene or lack of normal daily care
Does your parent seem to have a general lack of hygiene or other signs that they aren’t performing their daily care routines? If they have unusual body odor, hair that doesn’t seem clean or properly combed, or have dirt marks or smudges on their skin that should have been cleaned off in a shower, this can be a sign of declining health.
2. Trouble with memory
Does your parent seem to be having any trouble with memory? They may ask the same question multiple times, or suddenly not remember where something in their house is, or even forget someone’s name. Memory loss is a sign that their health is on the decline.
3. Lack of social interaction/social activities they used to participate in
If your aging parent isn’t interacting socially with the family or with friends while you’re around, this may be a sign that they are withdrawing mentally. If you ask about their typical social activities and they’ve stopped doing them—particularly for no reason or for a reason that suggests decline (inability to dial on the phone, inability to drive) this is another sign of decline.
4. Unexplained weight loss and other health issues
When you visit home, take a look at the overall health of your aging parent. Have they lost any sudden weight? Are there bumps, bruises or other signs of health issues? These are all signs that they aren’t properly taking care of themselves and can be a sign of general health decline. It’s especially important to take note of weight loss, since the impact of not eating or drinking properly can cause severe physical health problems if it isn’t properly treated and rectified.
5. Inability to manage daily tasks and financial needs
Consider whether or not it seems like your parent is capable of managing daily tasks and financial needs. When you’re home, look for bills—are they unpaid? Do you see “final notices’ and other letters from debtors, banks, and so on? If your parent is no longer handling their basic financial needs, this is a sign that they are experiencing a decline. You should also look for daily tasks that aren’t being done, such as household chores, picking up newspapers, and so on.
If you are visiting home for the holidays this year, make sure you keep an eye out for these signs of decline in your aging parent. If you notice any of the signs above, contact Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte, today to discuss options for additional care.