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Visiting a Beloved Senior this Holiday? Here’s What to Look for When Visiting Senior Loved Ones During the Holidays

Signs to Look for When Visiting Your Senior Loved Ones

Did you know more than 25% of all Ohioans aged 65 and older live alone? The holiday season is a great time to check in on your senior loved ones. Here’s why.

Marvalyn Zix, Community Relations Director at Traditions at North Bend, joined WLWT’s Ashley Kirklen to discuss things you can look for when you visit seniors this holiday. 

“If you haven’t seen your parents for a while, you may be surprised when you see them,” Marvalyn said. “You may notice some weight loss, there may be some balance issues, maybe you see some bruises from falls, or as they are walking, you may notice them “furniture surfing” as they walk, touching each item of furniture to stay balanced.”

Your parents or grandparents may be reluctant to acknowledge they are having struggles at home and often are not ready to talk about moving. We can help you have those tough conversations if you see any clues they may be ready to move.

Other things to look for when visiting are the conditions and cleanliness of the house. If your parent has previously been a meticulous housekeeper, you may notice the house is not as well kept anymore. “They may have vision problems and can't see to clean as well, or even have some pain or arthritis and can’t get down to clean, Marvalyn said. “They can't take care of things the way they used to.”

Staying healthy by maintaining a nutritious diet and staying current on medications is critically important for seniors. When you are visiting, it is important to check out the refrigerator and the medicine cabinet. “Make sure they have food available. They may not be getting to the grocery store,” Marvalyn said. “Check to see if the items in their fridge and pantry are expired. If they have a vision problem, they may not notice.” Seniors may often skip meals or choose something that is fast and easy rather than nutritious. Make sure they are continuing to eat healthy, balanced meals. If buying and preparing food is becoming a burden, the convenience of dining in a senior living community may be appealing to them.

Checking the dates on medications and making sure they are taking their medications as prescribed is very important. Marvalyn recommends making sure they are taking their medications and getting their prescriptions filled. 

What if you live out of town or cannot visit this holiday season? Marvalyn says it's important to have an eye on the situation. “If you have friends or family in the area, have them check in if possible,” she says. “You can always contact a senior living community like Traditions, they would be able to make a home visit.” 

Marvalyn said that even outside some of the clues you may see around the house, your parents, grandparents, or other cherished seniors may be ready to consider moving. Start by having conversations with them and including them in the decision. “Ask them some basic questions,” Marvalyn began. “Include them in the conversation. They may be lonely and would enjoy being around other people,” She said “It’s better to have that conversation early rather than wait until it’s an emergency situation.”