Are you heading home for the holidays? Many people enjoy the nostalgia associated with visiting family and friends during the holiday season, but as your parents get older, it can be sad and stressful to see the changes brought about by age. You may have questions about whether your mom or dad needs help or whether they are ready for professional senior care. Ohio residents also have to consider the difficulties of Ohio’s snowy winters such as increased fall risks, dangerous driving conditions, and freezing temperatures.
Does Your Loved One Need Senior Care?
These are important questions, and they’re not always easy to answer when you’re home for a short visit. But there are some signs you can look for to help you determine whether your elderly loved one could benefit from home care. Start with these indicators of a decline in physical abilities:
- The house isn’t as clean as usual. Perhaps your dad hasn’t taken out the trash in too long or your usually fastidious mother hasn’t done the dishes in several days. These could be signs of reduced physical ability or mild cognitive impairment.
- The heater hasn’t been turned on during a frosty Ohio winter. Your loved one may have failed to pay the electric bill or purchased enough fuel for the furnace. Maybe service has been suspended at some point. Forgetfulness of this kind may indicate the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Food in the refrigerator and pantry is expired or stale. As your mom or dad ages, they may no longer be making good decisions about food safety or are less able to drive to the grocery store. They may be cutting corners or unable to plan for nutritious meals. Cooking may be difficult, and your family member may benefit from help with meal planning and preparation.
- Your loved one shows signs of poor hygiene. Forgetting to brush teeth, shower, or comb hair could be a sign of cognitive impairment, or it may simply indicate that your loved one has reduced mobility.
Your mom or dad may also be experiencing the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you suspect that this is the case, the first step you should take is to ask questions and listen carefully during conversations. Here are some things you can ask your loved one to determine whether his or her cognitive abilities may be diminishing:
- What day is it?
- What month is it?
- Do you know the approximate time (without looking at a clock)?
- Can you remember the person I introduced you to earlier?
Take note of other behaviors that may indicate a failing memory such as telling the same story over and over again, forgetting the names of family members or close friends, and forgetting recent conversations.
You may also notice changes in mood or personality. Increased aggression and suspicion is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. You may also notice moodiness or sadness, which could be signs of depression.
How Can Home Care Help?
If you notice any of these signs while visiting your senior loved one this holiday season, remember that there is help available. Home care offers a full range of services to keep your mom or dad safe, healthy, and comfortable, even when they can no longer perform daily tasks and routines.
When it’s time for senior care, Ohio home care agencies can assist with all of the following:
- Walking or moving around the house
- Dressing and bathing
- Meal preparation
- Grocery shopping
- Food intake monitoring
- Medication reminders
- Transportation to and from appointments
- Social interaction
- Basic housekeeping
- Fall prevention
- Winter assistance (walking on icy surfaces, driving in inclement weather, making sure the house stays heated)
The holidays should be a time of joy and family togetherness. As you plan your family gatherings this season, consider whether your aging loved one needs the additional assistance offered by senior care. Ohio winters present significant risks for the elderly, but with the help of a compassionate caregiver, you can be sure your loved one remains safe and comfortable this holiday season.
To find out more about how home care can help your senior mom or dad, download our FREE Guide to Home Care.