What To Look For When Visiting Your Elderly Parent Over The Holidays


As millions of Americans travel this month for Thanksgiving, many adult children will spend time with their aging parents. Some 30 percent of those over 65 and older fully half of women age 75 or older—now live by themselves.

For many families, the holidays are the one time of the year they can physically “check in” on older loved ones. So it is an important chance to look for signs that older loved ones—especially those who live alone—may need additional help or attention. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Changes in Physical Appearance: Do you notice either significant weight loss or weight gain? Do you notice any bumps or bruises that may indicate they have had falls?
  2. Loss of Mobility: Are they experiencing any increased difficulty in walking or getting in and out of chairs/sofas? Do they appear less steady on their feet?
  3. Decline in Home Cleanliness and Repair: Does their home look clean and well maintained or is it in need of cleaning and/or repairs? Is trash and/or clutter accumulating? Does it smell of urine or feces?
  4. Reduced Ability to Prepare Healthy Meals: Do you notice a change in the kinds of foods they have (no more fresh fruits/vegetables, more frozen meals and canned goods)? Are their appliances, such as the stove, microwave and refrigerator, in working order? Is there adequate food? Any spoiled food present?
  5. Changes in Mood, Memory or Behavior: Do you notice your loved one constantly repeating things? Are you noticing increased confusion? Are you hearing from their friends that something has changed in their mood or behavior? Are they having difficulty carrying on an extended conversation? Are they showing irritability or apathy? Are they reporting more difficulty sleeping?
  6. Changes in Routine: Do you notice stacks of unopened mail? Are bills not getting paid? Are medications being taken? Are prescriptions not being refilled? Are medical appointments being missed or follow-ups not being made? Have they cut back on outside/social activities?
  7. Decline in Personal Hygiene: Are you noticing your loved one is unkempt, not dressing during the day like they used to, not showering, or wearing dirty clothing?

These are just a few warning signs that an older adult may need medical attention or other assistance. If one or more of these warning signs are detected, it might be time to bring in a professional to help. That’s when Kemper House steps in. Kemper House offers long term Alzheimer’s and dementia care, short term respite stays, and adult day care services. Call today! (440) 580-4664.

Information on this blog was also taken from geriatriccaremanagers.com