The holidays are upon us, and families across the globe will come together to celebrate. These gatherings serve as the perfect opportunity to check on loved ones you don’t see regularly. What signs should you look for when visiting your elderly parents and other loved ones this holiday season? 

Household Issues

People clean their homes before the holidays because they know guests are coming and want their residence to look its best. If you arrive at your parents’ home and it doesn’t appear to have been cleaned in days or weeks, this is cause for concern. Look for outdated food in the refrigerator, as eating this food could make them sick. Mold in the bathroom must be addressed, as its presence could make your loved ones sick. 

Signs your parents need help might be more subtle. Do they have a stack of unpaid bills? Children need to find out why these bills aren’t being paid. It might be they need an eye exam or it could be a sign of cognitive decline. An unkempt home could be a sign that the parent needs help and the same is true of unpaid bills, newspapers piled up, and more. 

Children must be alert when visiting and take note of any changes in household care. Although the parents may just be enjoying their free time now that they no longer work and put household chores low on their list of priorities, this isn’t always the case. Children need to distinguish between the two and decide whether their loved ones need a housekeeper or a memory care community. 

Pet Neglect

Pets serve as excellent companions to seniors. However, they require regular care to remain happy and healthy and provide the companionship your parents need. During your visit, pay close attention to the pet. The dog may need their nails clipped or the cat might be dealing with a litter box that is overflowing. These are signs your parents need help in caring for their furry friends. Fortunately, this help remains readily available. 

Look into mobile pet groomers and vets who come to the home to care for small animals. They take on many tasks that seniors can no longer complete and ensure the pet remains healthy and happy. Dog-walking services become of great help and benefit more than the dog. When the dog walker comes to pick up the animal, they interact with the senior and can alert family members or the proper authorities if they have concerns about the senior’s health and wellbeing.

There are even services now that come in and clean the litter box or scoop the poop in the yard. Invest in these services so your parents can enjoy spending time with their pets without worrying about neglecting their basic needs.

If your loved one needs to move to assisted living, find a community that allows them to take their pet with them. They need their companion as they make the transition to the new living arrangement. Many communities allow pets today, so be sure to find one that can accommodate you. 

Balance and Mobility Issues

When visiting your parents, pay attention to how they move around the house. If they appear reluctant to walk or you notice a change in their gait, they need to be seen by a doctor. The same holds when it appears they are in pain as they move around. Many joint, muscle, and neurological issues lead to balance and mobility issues. With the right treatment, your loved one may be up and moving easily once again in little time. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports millions of individuals arrive in emergency rooms each year because they fell and sustained an injury. Mobility and balance issues put seniors at risk of falling, and their bones break easier than the bones of younger men and women.

Sadly, seniors often stop engaging in favorite activities because they worry about falling. This lack of activity increases their risk of injuries in a fall. Work with their medical team to find the right solution to their mobility and balance issues so they have the highest quality of life. 

Any changes in elderly relatives should be noted and monitored. They may be nothing more than a sign the individual was preparing for the holidays and let things slide. However, it’s hard to know which is the case, which is why family members must stay on top of things and check in regularly to determine what the cause is and what action needs to be taken. 

About Orchard Park of Permian Basin:

Orchard Park of Permian Basin offers a community for individuals who wish to continue living alone but need assistance at times. Every resident living in our community feels empowered to live life as they choose, and they quickly become part of our family. As seniors’ needs change, we are here to help them with whatever challenges they face.