Elderly parents can sometimes be stubborn and worry their children. While the child of an elderly parent does not want to meddle in the affairs of their loved one, keeping a close eye on them is essential. This guide will help individuals learn about the warning signs they should never ignore when visiting their elderly parents for the holiday season. If problems are noticed, it may be time to start talking about entering an assisted living program so seniors can get the integrative help they need. 

Age-Related Declines Can Happen Quickly

Many people are unaware of how quickly mental declines can begin to occur in the elderly. Often, seniors are determined they will not reveal their issues or they may ignore them altogether. Concerned children need to use the holidays to carefully assess their elderly loved ones for any signs of mental decline. If issues are noticed, intervention should be sought with a doctor who specializes in geriatric medicine to ensure dementia and other mental decline conditions are not emerging. 

What to Look For When Visiting a Senior For the Holidays

Multiple signs can point to mental declines occurring in the elderly. These declines can be highly troublesome for loved ones who do not know how to get the assisted living help their loved ones need. Look for the following signs of mental decline while visiting the elderly for the holidays. 

  • Weight loss is often one of the first signs a person will begin to exhibit when they are experiencing mental declines. As people age, their appetites can greatly decrease. Certain medications can also cause a lack of appetite. Cancer and dementia can both lead to pronounced mental declines. 
  • Changes in balance and walking gait are also warning signs loved ones should not ignore. When an elderly person begins to experience mental health declines, it can affect their ability to walk normally. Eventually, the problem can grow so severe the senior begins falling frequently which could put their lives in danger. 
  • Changes in behavior are another sign of problems with a person’s mental capacity. If an elderly person suddenly seems angrier than before or they seem deeply depressed, children and loved ones need to find out why. 
  • Finally, children also need to evaluate the surroundings of the elderly loved one. It is important to snoop around a bit and see if there are any red flags. Are the dishes washed? Is the house clean? Is there food in the refrigerator? If a person notices any changes in the surroundings of the elderly person, it is essential they make notes and begin monitoring their loved ones more closely. 

If any of these issues are occurring, it may be time to start evaluating if it is safe for the senior to live alone. While minor cognitive declines may simply require closer monitoring, major changes need medical attention so the underlying cause can be discovered. 

Tips for Handling Signs of Mental Decline

In addition to the above, there are other signs that may cause worry for the children of elderly parents. During the holidays may not be the time to begin aggressively targeting the issues, but it is a good time to take extensive notes and begin to start planning. After the holidays, children can begin to broach the subject with their elderly parents and try to get a clearer picture of what is going on and what interventions are necessary. 

1. Start the Initial Conversation

Having a heart-to-heart talk with their elderly loved one will assist individuals in beginning to better understand what is happening in regards to any mental declines. At this time, an individual may broach the subject of scheduling a primary care visit for an extensive healthcare screening. The results of this screening will help individuals make the right decisions with their loved ones. 

2. Identify Any Available Support Resources

It is essential for individuals to carefully research to learn as much as possible about the senior community options that are available for their loved ones. Research should be done before a person begins to tell their elderly loved one about the options. 

3. Prepare a Checklist

It is helpful if a person prepares an exhaustive list of the things that need to be accomplished so their loved one can receive intervention. This list may include visiting the doctor, researching memory care options, and helping the elderly take care of their daily living tasks. 

Start the Assessment Now

Assessing the needs of an elderly parent can be difficult for children. It is especially cumbersome to assess these needs when a person lives far away. During the holidays is a great time to get involved and ensure the loved one has the care they need. 

Palm Vista Senior Living is dedicated to providing the integral life assistance some seniors need. With their pristine grounds, compassionate staff, and vast social options, seniors will love living in an assisted living community.