Holiday Health Checks: Signs You Should Look For When Visiting Elderly Family Members This Fall


As we approach the holiday season, many of us travel home to visit our aging parents. Despite having regular phone conversations, you may not be aware of the age-related decline that has happened since your last visit. 

You may be surprised to find that your dad is looking frail or that your family home that was once a tidy home… is now in disarray. 

Seeing these types of changes can signify a few things that might be going on. You should be aware that they could be suffering from a decline in focus and memory, an inability to do certain chores that were easy to do before, or sometimes even depression.

Here are a few simple things to look for during your holiday visits to determine if your loved ones need extra help:

  1. Mail is piling up that contains unpaid bills.
  2. Basic home maintenance has declined.
  3. Prescription medication and over-the-counter medications are expired.
  4. Cookware is scorched due to unattended cooking.
  5. Gait or balance has changed putting them at risk for falls.
  6. There is a noticeable weight loss.
  7. They have lost interest in hobbies or outside activities.
  8. Personal hygiene has declined.
  9. There is a change in sleep patterns.
  10. They are having difficulty with short-term memory.

If you noticed even one of these examples of possible decline of your loved one’s mental health, then it’s time to start putting a plan in place

Here’s what we suggest you begin to think about:

  1. Medical Attention: You may want to consider scheduling a medical visit to address possible serious conditions Ask doctors to assess the probability of diabetes, heart failure, cancer, or dementia. 
  2. Estate Planning: An elder law attorney can assist with estate planning to include medical and financial power of attorney. You may also benefit from hiring a Health Advocate or care manager who can provide a home assessment and offer resources for helping your aging parents.

As your health advisors, we’re here to help you plan for what might be coming sooner rather than later in your elderly loved ones’ lives. Feel free to contact us for a FREE 15-minute consultation so that we can assess the situation and determine if you may require our services.