10 Warning Signs to Look For During Holiday Visits With Older Loved Ones

Holiday Warning signs

As the familiar carol says, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” It’s a popular time for families to gather and celebrate the season. And it can be the perfect occasion to observe how well your parents or older loves are doing with living independently in their home. You might spot warning signs that suggest it’s time to have a conversation about moving to a more carefree, supportive lifestyle such as that offered at a Senior Star community.

Holiday Visits With Older Loved Ones: Watch for These 10 Warning Signs 

  1. Confusion about the season. If you have made prior arrangements to stay with or visit your parents or older loved ones, and they seem surprised to see you, talk to them about why this has occurred. Are they just confused about the date? Or do they seem unaware of the holiday season?
  2. Poor personal hygiene. Unwashed clothing, mis-buttoned shirts, lack of bathing or grooming—these can be warning signs that your older loved ones are having serious balance or mobility issues, or it could suggest the start of dementia.
  3. Not getting out. Ask about their recent activities. Have they left the house? Are they keeping up with friends, or sitting alone every day? Isolating can have serious health consequences. They might be hesitant to go somewhere due to mobility issues, fear of getting lost, or because they are forgetting engagements.
  4. Bruises or wounds. Falls remain the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among seniors. If your parents or older loved ones show signs of bruising, assess their environment. Are there stacks of papers blocking walkways? Rickety stair railings?  Get rid of throw rugs and other hazards that can impede a person’s path. Your parents might only need to do some housekeeping or install a few safety features, or their bruises could be warning signs that their mobility is hampered.
  5. Messy home environment. Most likely, your older loved one always took pride in their home. If it was your childhood home, you may recall family projects that involved housekeeping, raking lakes, clearing out the garage and more. So if during your holiday visit, you see warning signs that include loose gutters, a leaky roof, or torn window screens, it could be due to your parent not being physically able to keep up with maintenance.
  6. Improper medication management. Forgetting to take medications or even to fill a prescription could signal the onset of dementia. This is one of the warning signs to note when considering a more supportive lifestyle, such as that found in assisted living.  At Senior Star assisted living communities, your older loved ones receive a helping hand with daily activities as needed, including management of medications. 
  7. Sudden weight loss. If you haven’t seen your Mom or Dad in person in recent months, pay attention to a significant weight loss. They may not remember to eat. Or, may not have much of an appetite due to medications. It also could be due to no longer getting groceries and cooking meals. Getting proper nutrients can be tricky for older loved ones, especially when they are living alone.
  8. Confusion with conversation. Sit down and talk to your older loved ones. If they can’t seem to understand what you are talking about, or they are distracted and confused, it can be one of the warning signs that suggests a cognitive decline, or the early onset of dementia.  
  9. Driving mishaps. Check for warning signs such as new dents or scratches on the car and garage. Are they still driving to appointments? Picking up groceries and prescriptions? What about at night? Driving problems can indicate problems with vision and hearing, as well as slower reflexes.
  10. Depression or moodiness. Isolation, loneliness, sleep problems, stroke, cancer, lack of physical activity—just some of the risk factors for depression among older adults. It’s worth it to schedule an appointment for your Mom or Dad with their primary physician or with a counselor to learn more. 

You’ve seen some warning signs: what’s next.

If you have concerns about your parents or older loved ones, let them know how much you love them and that you have a few concerns for their safety. Include other family members in the discussion. Your loved ones might have realized they could use some assistance in a few areas and appreciate your suggestions. It also can be a time to bring up the advantages of living in a setting where they no longer have to worry about home maintenance, cooking, or managing medications. Instead, they could be enjoying a stress-free lifestyle that allows for freedom and independence. 

The holidays can be a great time to visit a Senior Star community online or in person and let the whole family see how carefree assisted living makes each day brighter and more fulfilling. 

Questions about Senior Star and our senior living communities? Contact us. And download our free guide “A Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing” for more helpful information.


Click here to access our Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing hbspt.cta.load(8489426, ‘7d97c61a-54c4-4e6f-8099-0d488816a2ed’, {“region”:”na1″});