This year has been a uniquely difficult one for many. With in-person celebrations put on hold, you may be finding new ways to connect with loved ones during the winter holidays – whether through Zoom, FaceTime or good old-fashioned phone calls. During these calls, you may notice some changes in your older loved ones that may indicate they need additional support at home. Pay attention to the following signs:
1.) No longer taking care of personal hygiene. If your normally well-dressed grandfather looks disheveled on your family Zoom calls, maybe he is just taking advantage of staying at home. However, failure to take care of personal hygiene could also be a warning sign of memory loss.
2.) A messy home and/or failure to pay bills. This may be harder to uncover in a world of virtual visits, but pay attention to what is in the background of those Zoom calls. Are there stacks of bills on the dining room table? Clutter in the living room? If this isn’t normal for your loved one, this can be a sign that something more is going on.
3.) Confusion as to place, time and other details. During your chats with your older loved one, notice if they sound confused, are having difficulty following the conversation, or are forgetting obvious details such as their children’s names.
4.) Changes in mood. Pay attention to mood changes such as lethargy, being withdrawn, sadness, or anger.
What to do if you are concerned about an older relative?
The first thing you should do if you are worried about a senior relative is to have them examined by their primary care physician to make sure any existing health conditions are being properly taken care of and to screen if there is anything new that needs to be addressed. Then consider getting additional support for your loved one. Many services exist to provide extra care to seniors with the goal of helping them stay healthy and safe at home. Consider the following options:
If you are concerned about an older loved one, Abramson Care Advisors can help. A senior care expert is available, free, 24 hours a day/seven days a week at 215.371.3400 to offer an assessment and referrals to necessary services.