Home for the Holidays

Submitted by Jodi Melsness, Home Care Solutions

Staying in touch with your parents or loved ones during the holiday season

The sights and sounds of the holiday season will soon be upon us. The smells of baked cookies, fresh fir trees, and turkey roasting will spill over into our lives. While there is a lot of activity around the holidays, this is a good time to check in with your parents or elderly relatives about their care needs. Here are some suggestions of what to look for when visiting with your older family members:

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Changes in sleep pattern and/or appetite
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Increased sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impaired concentration
  • Withdrawal from people or talking about the “end”

Signs of Elder Neglect (self or others) or Abuse

  • Appears confused, undernourished, dehydrated
  • Unable to keep up with bills, housework, meal prep
  • Not addressing problems with hearing, eyesight or medications
  • Presence of “new best friend” helping with care and finances
  • Bruises or other injuries that family member cannot explain
  • Family pet seems abused or neglected

Signs of Alcoholism in the Elderly

  • Frequent falls/fractures
  • Increased or daily use of alcohol
  • Anemia
  • Abnormal liver test functions
  • Altered cognitive abilities
  • Continuation of drinking after warnings to stop

If you or anyone else suspects depression, neglect, abuse or signs of alcoholism related to your family member, set up a time where you can discuss it with them. Make an appointment to see their doctor for a full evaluation. If able, contact their neighbors and give them contact numbers in case of an emergency. Keep in good contact with your family member and note any improvement or decline in their treatment. Always be willing to listen.