Home for the Holidays: Signs that Your Aging Parents May Need Help

Saying-bye-to-parents-300x180The holidays are now over, and we have returned to our normal lives. Regular work schedules, the kids are back in school and the Christmas decorations are put away neatly in storage bins. You have returned home from a long holiday visit with your aging parents, but your mind continues to race with questions and concerns. You noticed that a few things were “off” during your visit, but you didn’t know if Christmas was the appropriate time to bring up the subject of whether or not your parents need help, particularly because you live at a distance and you don’t get to see them too often. If you are one of the many who spent the holidays with aging parents or loved ones and noticed any of the following red flags, this may indicate the need to take action to ensure safety and good health for your family:

  1. Home Environment: Did you notice that the home your mother always kept so clean was neglected and cluttered? Did you notice that the hampers were overflowing with dirty laundry? Not only is this a red flag that a problem may exist, but also an issue of safety because of slip and fall hazards.
  2. Kitchen: Were the labels on the food in the refrigerator well past their expiration date or did you notice an overabundance of frozen meals? This is a sign that the tasks of food preparation and cooking may be difficult. How about scorched pots or potholders with burned edges? This may suggest that cooking food may have been forgotten on the stove. Signs of fire are additionally concerning since accidental fires are a common home danger for older adults.
  3.  Changes in Personal Hygiene and Appearance: Have you noticed that your loved one has lost considerable weight or seems weaker than usual? How about dirty clothing or unpleasant body odor? If your loved one is having difficulty keeping up with daily routines such as bathing, shaving and brushing their teeth, this is an indicator that additional care may be needed.
  4. Noticeable Cognitive Trouble: Did you have to clear piles of mail, bills, letters or magazines off the dining room table in order to set it for your holiday dinner? If you noticed that there are unopened bills or letters from banks / creditors referring to overdue payments or balances, this may also be a red flag that your loved ones are having difficulties managing their money. Magazines that look new and unread could imply that they have a subscription that automatically renews and an extra expense that isn’t needed. Piles of mail around the home could lead to additional slip and fall hazards.
  5. Balance: Did Dad have a hard time rising easily from his chair to greet you? Does he seem unsteady or unable to balance properly? If he is experiencing pain because of untreated joint or muscle problems, this could be another fall risk.

We are all guilty of saying “let’s just get through the holidays, and then…” but if you have personally observed your loved ones in a way that left you feeling uneasy about their safety and health, now is the time to ensure that they are getting the proper care they need. Caregiving from a distance can be difficult financially, logistically and emotionally. We are here to ensure that your loved ones are taking the proper safety measures in the familiar setting of their home. Our companions and homecare professionals will provide companionship, assistance with daily activities, housekeeping, meal preparation, medication supervision and regular reports so you know how your loved one is doing. We will provide support for the entire family when you can’t be two places at once.

For more information on AmeriStaff Home Nursing and our services, please contact 248-288-2270 or visit

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