Has your family reunion been planned yet? Cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents may all converge at one home to share gifts, eat good food and talk about family memories from years past while making new memories together.

The holiday season may be one of the few times families get together, but sometimes it is at the holiday get together that families realize their elderly loved ones are in need of more help than they realized. Adult children who don’t live nearby often come home to relatives they aren’t prepared to handle, from little things like forgetfulness to the bigger signs of deterioration. So this holiday, the family might gather around the kitchen table – not only for turkey and treats, but also for a talk—a big talk—that maps out a plan to care for aging relatives.

10 Holiday Warning Signs Senior Loved Ones Need Help:

  • Poor eating habits resulting in weight loss, no appetite, or missed meals.
  • Neglected hygiene - wearing dirty clothes, body odor, neglected nails and teeth.
  • Neglected home - it’s not as clean or sanitary as you remember growing up.
  • Inappropriate behavior - acting loud, quiet, paranoid, or making phone calls at all hours.
  • Changed relationship patterns that friends or neighbors have noticed.
  • Burns or injuries resulting from weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or medications.
  • Decreased participation in activities such as attending the senior center, book club, or church.
  • Scorched pots and pans showing forgetfulness for dinner cooking on the stove.
  • Unopened mail, newspaper piles, missed appointments.
  • Mishandled finances such as losing money, paying bills twice, or hiding money.

“When family members get together, it’s important to finally recognize and see firsthand that their elderly loved ones may have a problem,” says Senior Helpers CEO Peter Ross. “But conflict often surfaces when family members have to agree on a solution, especially when the senior has dementia or Alzheimer’s and family members don’t know how to handle it.”

So this year, pack some extra patience as you head to see your family for the holidays. Prepare and plan so that you and your family can deal with whatever situation you walk into.

Do you have a holiday plan in place to come together as a family and care for your aging loved ones? 

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