What to Do if You See Changes in Loved Ones During the Holidays


Last updated 11/11/2023 at 12:58pm | View PDF

As we approach the holiday season, people are hitting the road or taking to the skies to visit family.

Maybe it's just been a few months, or maybe it's been since this time last year that you, a sibling or another relative last saw an aging loved one.

But it's common at this time of year for family members to notice drastic changes in a parent, family member or other loved one since the last time they'd been together.

If you live with or near a loved one and see them regularly, then maybe you notice things here or there, but a decline can be difficult to grasp over time. But if someone is traveling into town for the first time in several months, that fresh set of eyes can provide the necessary context to the health and struggles of aging relatives.

Some warning signs that can be noticeable after a long time between visits can include:

• Decreased mobility;

• More difficulty completing tasks;

• Perceptible weight gain or weight loss;

• Increased forgetfulness or confusion;

• Their home is messier than usual; and

• Their personal hygiene is diminishing.

If you or a relative are seeing noticeable changes in a loved one during a holiday visit, here are a few tips:

• Walk through their home and discreetly look for signs of neglect or safety hazards. Offer to help with minor home repair items and yardwork and discuss any large projects that may be needed.

• Similarly, take note of fall risks around the home. Tuck cords and wires against walls or fasten them to baseboards. Clear clutter away from walkways in the home, and consider non-slip mats for showers and baths.

• Take note of any dramatic changes to a loved one's weight or physical condition.Check the cupboards to see if they have healthy food on hand and seem to be cooking.

• Don't panic about forgetfulness – anyone can misplace keys. But take note if they're struggling to remember the names of loved ones or details you know should be top of mind, or don't recall shared memories from years past.

• Have a private conversation with them away from others – ask if they find they're having difficulty with any tasks. Listen before dictating your concerns.

This article is courtesy of Prestige Assisted Living at Visalia. To learn more about their wellness programming or community, or to book a tour, visit prestigecare.com/Visalia or call (559) 735-0828.


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