This Holiday Keep an Eye Out
You may wonder how you’ll know when an aging parent or loved one can no longer safely live alone. It may seem like it will be hard to tell, but asking yourself these four questions can help. As you visit your aging loved ones this holiday season, consider these signs that it may be time for more help. Some of the signs, like general home maintenance, are easier to tell if you visit their home but that isn’t always an option. Regardless, try having an open and honest conversation with them, and ask them how they feel things are going.
4 Essential Questions to Ask When Visiting Aging Loved Ones
1.) How well are they maintaining the house?
One of the first things that can become an issue is keeping up with physical maintenance around the house. This could be things outside, like mowing the lawn or trimming the bushes, or it could be things inside like changing lightbulbs that have died. Something else to consider inside the house is general cleanliness, such as if dishes are put away dirty, the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned, or the floors haven’t been swept
2.) Are they getting around safely?
It’s not uncommon for older adults to start “furniture surfing” to get around the house. Watch to see if they’re grabbing onto furniture for stability as they walk, or if they look like they’re unsteady on their feet. You can also look for any trip hazards, like loose rugs or cords on the floor, and that they’re using any walking aids or assistive devices (like a cane or walker) correctly.
3.) Do they look like they’re taking care of themselves?
After taking care of the house, taking care of ourselves can also start to become more difficult as we age. When you see your loved one, pay attention to their general personal hygiene, including any changes in weight. Look for signs that they’re eating a good diet, bathing appropriately, and wearing clean clothing. Beyond just noticing their physical appearance, you can check for food in the fridge, hygiene products in the bathroom, and clean clothes in their dresser and closet.
4.) Does it seem like their memory (or cognitive function) has declined?
This can be more difficult to notice, especially if it has been a while since you’ve seen your loved one. As you’re talking to your loved one, notice if they seem to be having trouble recalling memories or recognizing people. You might also notice that they’re misplacing things and aren’t able to retrace their steps to find them. If there are health challenges to be concerned about, consider checking that your loved one is taking their medications properly by checking the bottles.
Supporting Aging Loved Ones
As our aging loved ones begin to have challenges with these, it may be time to consider getting involved. Maybe there’s a family member or friend that can help with some of the maintenance around the house. Or maybe a hired caregiver can help with personal hygiene concerns. Or maybe it’s time to consider a move to an assisted living community where they can also benefit from more social interactions and opportunities. What’s important is that you discuss any concerns you have with your loved one and with anyone else who is involved either in caring for them or making decisions.
For more great holiday tips on caring for older adults, The Ohio Masonic Communities is your go to resource. With three locations in Springfield, Waterville, and Medina, OH, their senior living communities offer 24/7 care and support for independent living, assisted living, and memory care. If you and your loved one are interested in senior living, schedule a tour at one of the scenic and beautiful communities. Call (877) 881-1623 today to learn more about their great senior living options.