The Importance of Holiday Visits to Aging Loved Ones

December 17, 2019 | BY PHS Staff

With the holidays upon us, it’s important to remember those around us who may not be able to get out of their homes, and as a result, may feel lonely and helpless. It’s very easy to get caught up in the busy holiday shopping season as we purchase gifts, decorate our homes and attend parties.

It’s vital to maintain a connection with senior loved ones who may not be able to travel during the holidays because they are home bound. But even so, many still want visitors and look forward to the times when their kids, grandkids and other family members and friends can drop by for a short visit.

If you have a loved one who is home bound, such as an aging parent, you may do your best to visit during the holidays, but with your own family and work commitments, it can be difficult to be there as much as you would like. Thus, in home supportive services in Gettysburg PA is a great way to fill in the gaps when you just can’t be there.

How to Best Spend Your Holiday Visits

Here are some reasons why holiday visits are so important to your aging loved ones, as well as some tips to help them celebrate the holidays in their home. Put your holiday visit to good use: yes, you want to spend quality time with them, but at the same time take this opportunity to observe how they are doing and whether or not their quality of life is being maintained.

1. Be Observant of Any Drastic Weight Loss

If they look unusually thin since the last time you have been by, ask if they have been eating properly. Take a look in the refrigerator and cupboards to see that those areas are well-stocked, taking note of the kinds of foods they are eating. While you’re at it, get rid of expired items so they don’t get sick.

Keep in mind, seniors may have issues cooking for one person or they may have a hard time reading tiny food labels. On top of that, certain medications can affect their appetite. All of these issues can contribute to poor diet and weight loss. Personal assistance services can give you peace of mind knowing a compassionate caregiver is there to prepare and make meals, and make sure your loved one is eating right.

2. Be on the Alert for Memory Problems

While it’s normal for aging seniors to experience occasional forgetfulness, when you start finding items in strange places or stacks of bills they haven’t paid, these are more serious signs that their memory loss could be worsening. Do some memory building activities with them, such as putting together a puzzle or asking about their childhood and important milestones. Remember events together, by watching old home movies or holiday classics, or look through photo albums to reminisce about the good old days, suggests AgingCare.

3. Observe Their Mental and Emotional Well-Being

If you suspect your loved one has become socially isolated and lonely, or if they are suffering from signs of depression or anxiety, talk to their doctor. Be on the lookout for signs of withdrawal from activities, isolation from the rest of the family, and sudden changes in personality or mood. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can really take hold during this time of year, a time that used to be filled with activities and traditions with family and friends.

Depression is common among seniors, with some estimates revealing that between eight and 16 percent of them experience clinically significant depressive symptoms.

4. Pay Attention to Mobility

Be cognizant of how your loved one has been getting around the house. If you notice certain rooms are dirty and have not been well-maintained, this may signal that your loved one is not able to move easily about the house to complete daily household tasks. If you notice they have become unsteady on their feet, look into getting them a walker or wheelchair, as unsteady feet could lead to dangerous falls and broken bones.

In addition to all these observances, have fun with your loved one. This should be a joyous time of year, so include them in celebrations, make holiday cards together and bake cookies. Schedule staggered holiday visits with family members, as small visits won’t be as overwhelming as one long, large party.

Contact Preferred HealthStaff

For more tips or to learn about our senior home care services this holiday season, please contact us at 866-943-9791.