Why the Holidays are the Perfect Time to Connect with Aging Parents

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While it would be wonderful if we could check in our elderly parents every day or every week, for most people this is simply not possible. Thankfully, for most people the holidays provide a rare opportunity to spend quality time with elderly loved ones and get a real feel for how they are doing.

At Physician’s Choice we know it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for when assessing how a parent is doing. This is especially true since many parents will try to conceal any problems they may be having. In light of this fact, you need to carefully look for any signs of trouble. What follows are some of the most important things to look out for:

  1. Mobility. Is your parent reluctant to walk or appear to be in pain while walking? These can be signs of joint or muscle pain or even neurological issues. Such issues can also put your loved one at a greater risk for falls.
  2. Mood. While some elderly individuals know how to talk the talk, to get a real feel for their emotional state you need to observe their behavior. Changes in behavior that could signal anxiety or depression include low energy, lack of basic hygiene, withdrawing from friends or loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. The causes of these behaviors can range from anything from dehydration to dementia.
  3. Surroundings. Was your mother always a stickler for a clean home but dirty dishes are now stacked up in the sink? While it is to be expected that older people may not be able to keep a house like they once did, if they are living in squalor or ignoring things like paying bills for months at a time, there is most likely an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
  4. Weight loss. Losing weight is one of the most common signs that an elderly person is not doing well. Unfortunately, weight loss can signal a wide variety of problems-some more serious than others. Often, they simply do not have the energy or the motivation to prepare themselves nutritious meals or they don’t have much of an appetite. Other causes can range from cancer to dementia to depression.

So, what if you see signs of trouble? The first step is to sit down with your parent and let them know how much you love them and that you are concerned about their well-being. While it is tempting to list all the problems you see, this is never a good idea. A better idea would to be to suggest making an appointment with their primary care physician and then go from there.

Many children are understandably uncomfortable talking to their parents about needing help around the house of even nursing care. While it can be a difficult conversation, you may be pleasantly surprised at their reaction. A lot of senior citizens are grateful to know someone is looking out for them.

It also may difficult for parents-especially around the holidays-to give up their role as taking care of everyone else. That is why it is so important to keep the conversation positive and not become combative. It may help to realize that your parents may be protecting you, as well, and don’t want to burden you with their problems.

The holidays are billed as the most wonderful time of the year but they can become stressful if your parent is failing. In order to alleviate this stress, take the time to let your parents know that you are there for them and want to work with them to make sure that they are happy and healthy in the New Year.

If you have questions or need help, contact Physicians Choice Private Duty in Omaha, Nebraska, today.