Holidays are a Good Time to Check on Health

Check On Health During the Holidays

Getting together to share a meal, opening gifts and spending time with those we love is often the highlight of the season. For many, the holidays are a chance to go home, to see parents, friends and family who they don’t get to see as often as they would like during the rest of the year.

For children of aging parents however, a holiday visit can often be the first time that adult children get an inkling that maybe mom and dad aren’t doing as well as they could be. Perhaps they have fallen, or they aren’t as steady on their feet as they once were. They may have lost or gained weight. Maybe they are a little more forgetful than they used to be. They could be having a hard time navigating everyday tasks that used to be easy. They might not be managing a medical condition or their medications as effectively as they once did.

If your holiday visit with your parents has you concerned it is important to evaluate the situation and look into services and resources that can help. Taking care of potential medical and support needs before they become major problems can help to ensure your parents can continue to live safely and independently at home.

It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to the needs of aging loved ones. A good place to start is to focus on some key areas.

Indications of potential care and support needs include:

Medical Indicators

  • An acute, chronic or terminal health condition
  • Frequent hospitalizations, ER or Urgent Care visits
  • Home safety concerns, falls, or fear of falling
  • Incontinence concerns
  • Changes in mobility, weakness, or endurance

Social Indicators

  • Isolation
  • No longer participates in previously enjoyed activities

Psychosocial Indicators

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Lack of family support

Physical & Mental Activity Indicators

  • Change in range of motion
  • Cognitive changes

Nutritional Indicators

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss or gain

Activities of Daily Living Indicators

  • Need for medication assistance
  • Personal emergency response needs
  • Need of assistance with chores, bathing, shopping, or meal preparation

Check out this handy checklist for a full list of care and support need indicators.

So what do you do if you have identified a need? The type of care you choose depends on the level of care needed.

Custodial care (non-skilled) services can help with activities of daily living like meal preparation, household chores, bathing, grooming and dressing. It can also provide medication assistance, transportation, and other health services coordination.

Skilled care services such as home health services, palliative care and hospice are available to those who need more specialized care. Home health services are available to help patients recover from illness or injury. Palliative care can be provided alongside curative treatments to help people facing chronic or quality of life limiting illnesses. Hospice services are available to help those with a limited life expectancy who are no longer seeking curative treatment achieve the best quality of life possible.

Other resources such as personal emergency response systems, Meals On Wheels or senior transportation services may be available in your community to assist your loved ones as well.

Hopefully your visit home finds your family healthy, happy and doing well. But if you think your aging loved ones could benefit from a little bit of assistance, act now before a small problem develops into a big one. Getting assistance in the home whether skilled or non-skilled care can drastically reduce the risk of a more serious illness or medical condition later on, helping to ensure mom and dad are home for the holidays this year and in years to come.

 Not sure where to start? Home Health United offers informational visits to go over care needs and eligibility for services and resources that can keep you or your loved one as safe and independent as possible at home. Call 1-800-924-2273 or click here to request an Informational Visit today.