Checking in with Loved Ones over the Holidays

Updated 7/21/15 12:53pm | Did you know that Alert1 celebrates the holidays with more than a quarter of a million families? That's a lot of holiday presents! More than that, holidays are special because of the memories you create with family and friends. Tis the season to catch up with extended family and friends you don’t see as often as you would like. You can look forward to reviving family annual traditions. Part of the magic of the holiday is breaking that lapse in seeing some of your aging family members, especially if a year or more goes by.

From so much time passing you really get a sense as to how much those loved ones mean to you. On the other hand you also may notice stark changes in their physical or cognitive abilities. The holidays offer a good chance to check up on the older adults in your life and make sure they are still well and healthy. You can to reverse the hands of time and restore mental functions with these senior-friendly exercises

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Be Alert and Keep a Watchful Eye

When you visit your loved one’s home over the holidays, be on the lookout for signs that they may need help. There are war everywhere if you take the time to step back and really examine the bigger picture. If you come into contact with any of their friends or neighbors, try and find a quiet moment to ask if they share any of these concerns.

  • How clean and well maintained is your loved one’s home; is it the same as it always has been? Maintaining a household becomes more difficult as we age. Tasks that require bending, lifting, or climbing may not be getting done as often.
  • Is their car in proper working order; how often are they driving? If you notice dents on your loved one’s car or they become defensive when asked about driving, your loved one may be struggling with their driving skills.
  • Are there stacks of mail or paperwork lying around? If your loved one can’t keep up with their mail, it may be a sign that they need help paying their bills or are struggling with forgetfulness. They may also just need a new prescription to help them see clearly.
  • Does your loved one’s refrigerator contain fresh, reasonably healthy food? If they are struggling with their vision, they may not be able read expiration dates and this can lead to food-related illness. A lack of food in your loved one’s home may indicate that their appetite has diminished. They also may just need help going to the grocery store.

You may notice differences in your loved one’s appearance or mannerisms that tip you off. Does your loved one look clean and well groomed? Personal hygiene becomes more of a challenge as we age. Older adult’s sense of smell diminishes with time, so they may not be as sensitive to body odor. 

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Personality or Temperament Changes

Is your loved one generally in a good mood? If their mood changes rapidly or without cause, it may be a sign that they are stressed or not feeling well. Does your loved one get confused while answering simple questions or attempting routine tasks? If they are having trouble with something they do on a daily basis, it could be an indicator of cognitive difficulties.

Your loved ones can keep their mind sharp by doing a variety of mentally stimulating activities. Just as you’d regularly workout at a gym, increased brain performance for seniors comes with daily exercise. You may consider scheduling a day or two to meet with your loved one for mental exercises such as board games or puzzles. Additionally you can sign yourselves up for a fun activity such as an art class or chess club. 

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Senior Safety and Wellbeing

Before you visit your loved one this holiday season, you may want to review this list ofwarning signsand use it as a checklist to evaluate their wellbeing. If you become concerned about anything, talk to other family members and find out if anyone else has noticed the same things. If you have immediate medical concerns, encourage your loved one to make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible. You may want to consider giving your loved one a medical alertsystem for Christmas. It will give you both peace of mind knowing that help is always at their fingertips.

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