Assessing Senior Caregiving Needs During Holiday Visits

As you gather for Thanksgiving dinner, remember to take time to really talk with the seniors in your family and notice if there are any changes they are experiencing as they age. Use this opportunity to think about how you can help them age well.

Medical Issues: Remember that some age-related illnesses, if caught and treated early, can be given the proper medical attention in order to slow progression. Take the time to think about any care needs your senior relative may need as their health conditions change. It is sometimes easier for those who do not see their parents and grandparents often to notice changes than for those who have daily interactions with them. Take the time to notice hearing and vision. Are your elder relatives taking care with their hygiene and appearance? Are they taking their medications at a regular time each day? Are they incorporating physical exercise into their daily routine? Do they employ a nutritious diet?

Social Issues: Ask your senior family member what their week is like. Are they maintaining social activities? Healthy aging requires maintaining physical and mental exercise and socialization. Do they belong to any clubs or church groups? Many health clubs offer senior discounts. Warm-water pool aquatic classes provide the opportunity for socialization combined with low-impact exercise. Win-win! There are a number of adult day care centers that afford older adults a chance to get out of the house and enjoy both mental and social stimulation.

Caregiving Issues: Many seniors will find it necessary to change their lifestyle some to make sure they are keeping up with both health needs and social needs as they age. Sometimes it is necessary to involve a family member or caregiving service to assist with care needs, at least part-time, as abilities change. If you live far away from senior family members, take the time to investigate senior care options in their town when you are visiting. Find out what quality Senior Home Care Agencies are in their area and learn about senior service programs. Obtain names and numbers so you will be able to contact someone to assist if the need should arise.

Most of all, use the time to really connect and enjoy the holiday together.

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