Home for the Holidays: Tips for Ensuring Senior Relatives’ Health and Happiness This Holiday Season

The holiday season has a wonderful way of bringing family and friends together. It is a time when we travel from near and far to enjoy familiar traditions with loved ones. The holidays also provide an opportunity to observe how senior relatives are managing their day-to-day lives.

Whether you live close or not, you may get to visit less than you would like and often rely on phone conversations with loved ones or updates from other family and friends to know how everyone is doing. This is why the holidays are an opportune time to take stock of your loved one’s general well-being to be sure they are safe, active, happy, and healthy.

We’ve created a list of tips to help you recognize if your loved one could benefit from additional support:

Weight Loss

There can be many reasons your loved one is losing weight. Some simple causes could be stress or the fact that aging can cause lower energy levels or fatigue, making it challenging to shop for and prepare nutritious meals. They could also be experiencing a loss of appetite caused by medications, unmanaged diabetes, neurological conditions like depression or dementia, or a host of other chronic illnesses. Regardless of the reason, encourage a visit to your loved one’s physician and even offer to accompany them to the appointment.

Changes in Mobility and Balance

You may notice a change in your loved one’s mobility, like obvious changes to their gait or pain during movement. What may not be as obvious is a loved one’s hesitancy to be as mobile as they once were. This could be because it is too painful to do so or because they’ve experienced falls or near-falls and are now afraid to move as freely. All these things can be a sign of various joint, muscle, or neurological issues. It is imperative that they see a physician to understand what is needed to keep them moving and safe. If these issues are not addressed, your loved one’s fear of movement will only increase and decrease their ability to do so.

Fluctuations in Mood and Behavior

A marked change in your loved one’s mood and behavior is something to heed. Have a conversation to find out if they seem content and still enjoy much of their normal routine, like going to church on Sunday, having breakfast with friends on Wednesday morning, and grocery shopping on Friday afternoon. Look for indicators like being easily angered or saddened, acting out, doing things impulsively, or reckless behavior. This could be caused by one of many physical or mental conditions, including anxiety, depression, or dementia, but if you notice a difference, it’s important to get this checked out.

Changes in the Home

Your loved one’s surroundings are another indication of how they are doing. If they have always kept a tidy home and are a stickler for paying bills on time, a messy home and a stack of unopened mail is an indication that something is not right. Take a close look. Sometimes, the signs are more subtle, like an overflowing hamper, which could mean they don’t have the energy to do laundry. A scorched pot could mean they forgot something on the stove. Any of these signs might mean they could use help with activities of daily living.

What to Do if You See Any of These Signs

The most important consideration is your loved one’s safety. If you see any of these warning signs, it is important that you address them right away. Make time to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one and other family members. Be kind but honest about your concerns and provide examples. If you decide it’s necessary, make an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician and go with them to address any concerns. Understanding what is happening is essential to finding the proper solution.

Finding Help When Needed

You may find that visits from well-meaning family and friends are not enough to support the needs of your loved one. If this is the case, an assisted living community may be the best option to give your loved one the support they need while also living a vibrant, independent life in a social community atmosphere. Assisted living communities like The Cabana at Jensen Dunes in Jensen Beach, FL, provide maintenance-free living, housekeeping, companionship, healthy chef-lead meals, a full social calendar, and onsite healthcare. It is an atmosphere where your loved one can be independent, safe, and thrive.

To learn more about The Cabana at Jensen Dunes or to schedule a visit, call 772-758-1003 or visit JensenDunes.com