Home for The Holidays - Part I
It’s that time of the year again. Time to head home for the holidays to reconnect with family and friends. A lot can change with a person in a relatively short period of time. Here are a few things to be on the look-out for:
- Have they lost (or gained) weight? Does the person feel thinner when you hug them? There are a lot of causes for weight loss or gain - cancer, depression, dementia, and diabetes are at the top of the list, but a trip to the doctor is called for to make the final determination.
- Is their overall appearance not up to their usual standard? Are their clothes stained or disheveled? If makeup is the norm, is she wearing any and, if so, is it applied properly? If he normally is clean-shaven and is now sporting a grubby beard, he may have forgotten to shave or even forgotten how to shave. Do they have body odor?
- What shape is the house in? Are there dirty dishes in the sink? Expired food in the refrigerator? Is the laundry being done? Are the bathrooms clean? Has the garbage been emptied and taken to the curb? Are there spills on the floor that haven’t been wiped up and cobwebs and dust in what was once a pristine house?
- You might also want to look at their mail. Are there piles of unopened envelopes or notices of non-payment from banks, utilities, and creditors? Is there an inordinate amount of mail from charitable organizations thanking them for their donations?
- How about socialization? Does your loved one still maintain friendships that include visits and outings? Do they have life-long hobbies that are now sitting dormant? If they’re no longer able to drive themselves, how are they getting around?
- Speaking of driving - if they still get behind the wheel now might be a good time to get in the car with them while they drive so you can determine if it’s time for them to stop. Do they use their turn signals (and turn them off when appropriate), tailgate, mix up the gas and brake? Also look for telltale signs that they’ve been exhibiting careless or poor driving habits - are there dents and dings that weren’t there before?
These are just a few of the things you should be looking for when you visit your senior loved ones. Next week I’ll look at what can be done to alleviate the situation.
In the meantime, let me know how your loved ones were when you saw them at Thanksgiving. Christmas is only a few short weeks away!