Posted November 25, 2006

Going home for the holidays is a great time to not only catch up with our elderly relatives but a great opportunity to really observe what is going on at home on a daily basis. Many of us are busy in our daily lives and don’t have the time to do more than talk on the phone or drop by for a moment.

It’s usually right after a big family holiday like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter when I get the most calls. Children have noticed things about their parents (or their house) that indicate that more care is needed. Here are some things you should look for:

1. Is the food in the refrigerator spoiled and out of date?
2. Are they spending time in only a few rooms in the house?
3. Has there been noticeable weight loss?
4. Are they wearing the same clothes (even when dirty) multiple days?
5. Do basic chores appear to not be finished? (Housekeeping, Laundry)
6. Have they lost interest in activities they once enjoyed?
7. Are they repeating the same questions or disoriented to time?
8. Are they getting confused during conversations?
9. Is there an increase in ‘stuff’ around the house that could create a fall risk?
10. Are they taking their medications as prescribed?

This list is just a start of things to look for. If you notice any other changes it may be time to introduce help in the form of someone to do the housekeeping, meals, bill paying and medication management. You can always start small and work from there. If someone is in the house helping on a regular basis, they will be able to note other changes in the senior.

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