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Look for Signs of Decline in Your Elders During the Holiday

With the holidays fast-approaching, here are a few tips to consider while visiting loved ones this holiday season. If you are concerned about the health and well-being of aging parents or relatives, take this opportunity to observe and note potential safety risks. Extended holiday visits provide opportunities to informally assess loved ones in a variety of situations. They’re a great time to ask questions and uncover concerns.

Emma Dickison, president of Home Helpers, suggests considering the following:

  • Cooking – If an aging loved one is preparing the family feast, does the preparation and presentation suggest potential physical or cognitive difficulty? “Last year, I heard about a woman with dementia who mistakenly cooked a Cornish hen, thinking it would feed the family of eight,” says Dickison.
  • Driving – If an older family member still drives, inspect the car and garage for scrapes, scratches, dents and dings that may suggest safety concerns. Suggest running a quick errand and have your loved one drive. Observe his or her driving for any safety concerns.
  • Environment – Walk around the home and take note of anything unusual, such as the mail stacking up, past due notices and cleanliness concerns. In addition, are your loved ones able to maintain the property, and if not, do they know who to call for assistance? To download a home safety checklist, visit the Center of Disease Control. The list will help you determine if some simple adjustments could help prevent slips, trips, other accidents or injuries.
  • Function – Keep an eye and ear out for unusual behaviors or comments. Does your loved one seem increasingly forgetful, hard of hearing or visually challenged? Are there indications life is becoming increasingly difficult, possibly due to an age-related disease?
  • Medications – Ideally with your loved one’s involvement, take time to complete or update a medications record. The AARP website offers a simple form online. Encourage your loved one to use only one pharmacy to help monitor possible drug interactions or overdoses.

In addition to asking your loved one about day-to-day concerns or any challenges he or she might be willing to admit, take the time to express any concerns in a loving and kind manner and communicate your desire to be helpful.

As you gather with your family for the holidays this year, take this opportunity to express your love through gift-giving and well-wishes, and give them the gift of a safer and better quality-of-life as they age.

To learn how Home Helpers can help you with your loved one’s needs, including personalized in-home care with a full range of flexible services, call (877) 464-9090 or contact us online.

About Home Helpers®
Home Helpers is the premier provider of in-home, non-medical and personal care and companionship for seniors, people coping with a lifelong illness or disability, and those recuperating from a recent surgery or hospitalization. Home Helpers is an agency, not a registry. We employ caregivers who are thoroughly screened using our exclusive Care Check System™. By utilizing our Client & Caregiver Matching System™, we ensure the best caregiver selection. We are committed to the delivery of a positive home care experience for your family.

We don’t just take care of our clients, we plan for them, using our comprehensive and customized Home Helpers Total Care Plan™. Home Helpers is proactive, not reactive, and offers a flexible, affordable continuum of care that changes as our clients’ needs change. We tailor our care plans to our clients’ unique needs and tap our extensive network of referral resources relevant to every aspect of care.

From occasional visits to respite to hospice care, the team at Home Helpers is with you every step of the way, providing guidance, reassurance and compassionate care always.

To learn how we can put together a Total Care Plan™, including helping with a continuum of care plan for you or your loved one, call us at (877) 464-9090 or learn more online.


“Phyllis has been taking care of my father for the past couple months and I wanted to pass along how well she's been doing. Each time I talk with my Dad, he tells me how much he appreciates having the same person come now and how well she's taking care of his place. By having a reliable person come and take care of my Dad, it takes the stress off our family and we all really appreciate it.”

Kathy S.
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