Health Changes in the Elderly to Look for When Visiting Over the Holidays

Oct 29, 2021
Elderly man visiting with his daughter at the holidays

It’s hard to believe but the holidays are almost upon us once again. For many with senior loved ones who don’t live nearby, it’s also time to plan visits and enjoy the season together. To make the most of a visit with a parent or other senior, use the time with them to assess how they are and the state of their health. Here are tips for finding out what’s really going on to be sure they get the help they need.

Weight loss in the elderly —

When you initially see a senior after weeks or months apart, pay attention to immediate impressions, like if they appear thinner. Weight loss that is not intentional can be a sign of bigger problems.

For example, are they getting regular nutritious meals or have they lost interest in food and cooking due to depression or anxiety? Or perhaps, they forget to eat due to memory loss or just can no longer prepare their own food. Other causes of unexplained weight loss can include illnesses like cancer or diabetes. Find out the best steps to take in the blog, “Q&A: What to Do About Unintentional Weight Loss.”

Poor hygiene —

If a senior appears unusually disheveled, unclean, or has body odor, it’s a sign they are no longer able to manage their own personal hygiene. Bathing is one of the hardest things for some seniors since it takes a lot of energy and poses a serious fall risk. Dental hygiene is another area that requires constant care and one that may become a burden if the senior has arthritis, memory loss or diseases like Parkinson’s. Laundry is another possible problem for seniors who have to carry clothes downstairs or forget to wash clothing regularly. The blog, “Personal Hygiene and Its Importance for Seniors,” looks at hygiene problems and solutions for seniors.

Balance and mobility —

Staying safe for seniors is often complicated by balance and mobility issues and the increased risk of falling. But other related problems like the inability to rise from a sitting position, stand for very long, or just get around the home, can make life a challenge for seniors. By observing how well they move, whether they need to hold onto objects to walk, or if they need a hand getting up from a chair are signs that things are amiss. Other concerns may be medications that make them dizzy, generally feeling tired or fatigued, or old injuries any of which can be factors affecting mobility and balance. While the solution may be as simple as getting them a cane or walker, the Harvard Health Publishing blog, “Two questions can reveal mobility problems in seniors,” can help better assess needs.

Mood and behavior changes —

When a normally cheerful, engaged senior is suddenly sad, angry, or just disinterested, it’s a sign that something is going on. Isolation and loneliness are always possible for those who live alone, but changes can be brought on by medication as well as by the onset of dementia, which causes confusion and changes how a person reacts. But seniors with chronic conditions may also be in pain, suffering from poor sleep, or just afraid. To help get to the bottom of it, the article “Behavior & Personality Changes” from the Weill Institute for Neurosciences at the University of California San Francisco, takes an in-depth look at the possibilities associated with dementia, and the Psychiatric Times article, “Recognizing and Treating Geriatric Mood Disorders,” examines mood changes.

Other Health Changes in the Elderly to look for —

A home that is unclean or cluttered is a sign they may need help keeping house. Also, check medications to be sure they are being taken correctly (or at all) and inspect the store of food available on shelves and in the refrigerator for variety and freshness. Expired food or a lack of ample supply can signal a senior is either not able to get more groceries or has lost interest in eating. Also pay attention to signs of substance abuse, something that is becoming more prevalent among seniors and is explored in the blog, “How Addiction is Becoming a Risk to Seniors.”

For an overall look at how to assess a senior and get them the help they need, the AARP article, “How to Assess When an Older Adult Requires Caregiving Assistance,” is another excellent resource.

Ganton’s Countryside is the perfect solution for seniors who need a little or a lot more help. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

assisted living near me

Subscribe to our blog.

Recent Posts

Michigan Senior Living: The Complete Guide for 2022

Ready to find your forever home in Michigan? You’re in luck! Few states come close to the natural beauty, affordability and high quality of life found in Pure Michigan. No matter what type of retirement community you’re looking for, you can find it here — if you know...

What the Best Michigan Memory Care Residences Have to Offer

For seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, memory loss can be jarring, lonely and even anger-inducing. They may be unable to remember basic facts, like what year it is, their location or a loved one’s name, all of which can contribute to feelings of a lost identity....

Top Qualities of the Best Retirement Communities in Michigan

Entering your golden years can be an exhilarating adventure, or it can be a stressful, uncertain transition. For most people, the difference comes down to whether or not they feel secure and supported in their new phase of life. Finding a retirement community that...

Assisted Living in Michigan: Everything You Need to Know

What happens when seniors can no longer live comfortably at home? Some people think that being unable to live alone means that a senior should enter nursing care, but that’s not necessarily true. The reality is that there are several living options in between total...

Memory Care Services in Jackson, MI.

Does your loved one struggle with serious memory loss? Losing memory and other cognitive functions is scary — it can feel like losing yourself. People who suffer from dementia and related conditions can become withdrawn and isolated, depressed or even angry. These...

Your Options for Assisted Living in Jackson, MI

How do you want to age? It’s a simple question, but an important one. Everyone who is lucky enough to live a long life will interact with old age, and preparing for that reality can make the aging process easier. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older. As the...

Comparing Costs of Assisted Living vs. Home Care

When envisioning retirement, seniors may plan to travel the world, spend more time with family and friends, or take up a new hobby to fill their days. But they don’t always plan for the cost of care should they need it. From just a little help with housekeeping to...

Senior Living in Jackson, MI: Guide for Seniors and Adult Children

The opportunity to grow older is a gift. It means more time to spend with the people you love, doing the activities you enjoy. There are a lot of misconceptions about getting older, especially when it comes to quality of life. Although ageist stereotypes may lead you...

Independent Living in Jackson, MI

Everyone ages, but no one ages in exactly the same way. Whereas some older people experience mobility issues and cognitive decline, others stay sprightly and mentally sharp their entire lives. That means that two seniors who are exactly the same age can have...

Share This