Holidays are the perfect time for sharing memories, celebrating life, and giving of ourselves. During this holiday season, whether you’re entertaining family in your home or visiting your elderly loved ones, take the time to observe them in their environment. Be aware of any signs of decline in their cognitive, mental, or physical health.

Here are the top 5 things to look for when visiting your senior loved ones for the holidays:

1. Memory loss/confusion

As we age, we begin to experience some type of cognitive decline. Do you notice your loved one becoming easily agitated, repeating themselves, forgetting important events or names, or becoming disoriented? These could be signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Changes in habit/socialization

Believe it or not, one of the most important ways to stay healthy is by socializing. Companionship is necessary for our overall wellbeing. Do you find that your elderly loved ones prefer to stay home alone, not socialize with friends and neighbors, or not participate in activities that they used to enjoy? Such social isolation could be a sign of depression.

3. Struggling to complete daily tasks

Visiting your loved ones during the holidays is a great way to watch them perform daily tasks, such as grooming, dressing themselves, cooking, or cleaning. Do you notice that they have difficulty completing simple tasks? Is their home unkempt? Are there expired medications in the home? If any of the above is true, your loved one might be experiencing symptoms of early dementia. Expired medications could also mean they are either forgetting to take medications or not taking medications as intended.

4. Changes in gait

Are your loved one struggling with movement? Are they walking slower than normal? Are they unsteady and hanging on furniture or walls when walking? If you notice these signs, they could be at risk of falling and serious injuries. Changes in gait could mean your loved one is silently suffering from muscle or joint pain.

5. Decline in health and wellbeing

Exhibiting changes in mood or behavior could be a sign of health decline. People often show signs of depression during the holidays. They are away from friends and family, they’re experiencing life changes, and even the cold winter months can exacerbate those feelings. If you notice your elderly loved ones have a change in their appetite, show significant weight loss, or major changes in sleep patterns, they might be feeling depressed.

Final Thoughts

If you notice, during the holidays, that your loved ones are showing any signs of dementia or decline in overall health, they may be in need of long-term care. Assisted living communities, such as Avanti Senior Living, can provide the type of memory care services they need and deserve. Your loved ones will not only experience improvement in their quality of life, but they will thrive in an environment specially designed for seniors.

Call Avanti today to schedule a tour or learn more about options, services, and floor plans.