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Assessing Mom and Dad Over the Holidays - Which of These 5 Signs Did You Notice?

A family enjoying a Christmas dinner
By Claudette Forbes

The holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with family. If it’s been a while since the last time you’ve seen your parents, it may be a shock if aging parents are suddenly looking older and grayer than we remember. As your mom and dad advance in years, it’s important to check on their wellbeing, and make sure that they are healthy and safe.

If you notice any of these 5 signs when visiting with your parents, it may be time to talk with them about getting home care help.

1. They’re not shopping for themselves

If you come home for the holidays only to find the cabinets empty, something suspicious growing in the fridge, and what ever is left long past the expiration date—it may be time to get help. Shopping can be an ordeal for some aging seniors. They may not have a car or they may feel unsafe driving, or struggle with finances, or can’t remember that they need to go shopping at all.

This doesn’t always mean your parents need to go to a nursing home or an assisted care facility, it may just mean they need someone around to help them with the shopping so food is always there when they need it.

2. They’ve experienced sudden weight loss or gain

If your parents have suddenly shed a lot of weight, and it’s not from a sudden interest in their health, it could be because preparing meals has gotten a lot more difficult as they age. This can also be the case if they have suddenly gained several pounds, since processed, high-calorie meals are easier than home cooking from scratch.

If you notice a lot of weight change, it’s worth asking why, or do a little poking around in the fridge. Weight change often has an underlying reason for it.

3. The bills aren’t getting paid

Is there a stack of bills on the kitchen counter warning that they are overdue? Is one of them a check returning a balance because it was paid twice? While it’s normal for anyone to space on a bill every once in a while, if finances are constantly getting messed up, this can be a big concern for the elderly.

It may even be worthwhile that they speak with their doctor if this happens frequently.

4. They have a sudden change in mood

Personality changes can also often stem from a health problem that needs to be addressed. If your normally patient father is suddenly grumpy about everything, there could be more to it than their emotions. If their personality has changed noticeably since the last time you saw them, getting checked out by a doctor may be helpful.

5. Their hygiene is slipping

Most people dislike feeling dirty, so if your parents seem to be giving up on hygiene, it is worth being concerned about. It may be that they’re afraid of slipping and falling in the shower, or that they’re having trouble reaching all of their body.

What ever the case may be, it’s worth investigating farther if you notice your parents are frequently smelling less than fresh.

Your mom and dad are some of the most important people in your life. If they’re struggling for help, it’s important to be there for them even if they’re not directly asking you. A little help can go a long way. If they seem to be struggling with day to day tasks, consider hiring a home care helper to make the little things easier, so they can go back to enjoying the big things—like spending time with you. For more information on caregiving services, contact Homewatch CareGivers of Woodbridge. We serve all of Avenel, Carteret, Clark, Linden, Perth Amboy, Port Reading, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, Sewaren and Woodbri

The holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with family. If it’s been a while since the last time you’ve seen your parents, it may be a shock if aging parents are suddenly looking older and grayer than we remember. As your mom and dad advance in years, it’s important to check on their wellbeing, and make sure that they are healthy and safe.

If you notice any of these 5 signs when visiting with your parents, it may be time to talk with them about getting home care help.

1. They’re not shopping for themselves

If you come home for the holidays only to find the cabinets empty, something suspicious growing in the fridge, and what ever is left long past the expiration date—it may be time to get help. Shopping can be an ordeal for some aging seniors. They may not have a car or they may feel unsafe driving, or struggle with finances, or can’t remember that they need to go shopping at all.

This doesn’t always mean your parents need to go to a nursing home or an assisted care facility, it may just mean they need someone around to help them with the shopping so food is always there when they need it.

2. They’ve experienced sudden weight loss or gain

If your parents have suddenly shed a lot of weight, and it’s not from a sudden interest in their health, it could be because preparing meals has gotten a lot more difficult as they age. This can also be the case if they have suddenly gained several pounds, since processed, high-calorie meals are easier than home cooking from scratch.

If you notice a lot of weight change, it’s worth asking why, or do a little poking around in the fridge. Weight change often has an underlying reason for it.

3. The bills aren’t getting paid

Is there a stack of bills on the kitchen counter warning that they are overdue? Is one of them a check returning a balance because it was paid twice? While it’s normal for anyone to space on a bill every once in a while, if finances are constantly getting messed up, this can be a big concern for the elderly.

It may even be worthwhile that they speak with their doctor if this happens frequently.

4. They have a sudden change in mood

Personality changes can also often stem from a health problem that needs to be addressed. If your normally patient father is suddenly grumpy about everything, there could be more to it than their emotions. If their personality has changed noticeably since the last time you saw them, getting checked out by a doctor may be helpful.

5. Their hygiene is slipping

Most people dislike feeling dirty, so if your parents seem to be giving up on hygiene, it is worth being concerned about. It may be that they’re afraid of slipping and falling in the shower, or that they’re having trouble reaching all of their body.

What ever the case may be, it’s worth investigating farther if you notice your parents are frequently smelling less than fresh.

Your mom and dad are some of the most important people in your life. If they’re struggling for help, it’s important to be there for them even if they’re not directly asking you. A little help can go a long way. If they seem to be struggling with day to day tasks, consider hiring a home care helper to make the little things easier, so they can go back to enjoying the big things—like spending time with you. For more information on caregiving services, contact Homewatch CareGivers of Woodbridge. We serve all of Avenel, Carteret, Clark, Linden, Perth Amboy, Port Reading, Rahway, Roselle, Roselle Park, Sewaren and Woodbridge.