Visiting seniors during the holidays: 5 issues to look out for
Visiting elderly relatives and friends during the holiday season is a great way to make them feel loved and is especially welcome if they happen to live alone. But if you don’t see them often, you may want to take note of their health and ove- rall condition. Here are five things to look out for when you visit seniors for the holidays. 1. WEIGHT LOSS A number of conditions can cause seniors to lose their appetite, and some of them find cooking for one difficult. When visiting, take the time to look around the kitchen to find out whether the refri- gerator and cupboards are stocked with fresh food. If not, ask if they need help getting groce- ries or cooking. Keep in mind that weight loss can also signal a serious health issue. 2. MEMORY LOSS Forgetfulness itself isn’t a concern. However, si- gns of serious memory loss such as placing items in unusual places, repeating the same thing over and over, mixing up words, and getting lost in familiar areas may warrant a trip to the doctor. 3. MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES Depression among seniors is on the rise and those who are socially isolated are at an inc- reased risk. Worrisome signs include withdrawal from social activities, insomnia (or oversleeping), loss of interest in hobbies, loss of appetite and changes in personality and mood. 4. MOBILITY ISSUES A senior’s level of mobility can change drastically in a short period of time. Such a change can some- times present a danger. It’s therefore a good idea to
ensure that the seniors you visit during the holidays have homes that match their current level of mobi- lity. Uncompleted household chores may indicate an issue. 5. SOCIAL ISOLATION Helping seniors combat social isolation is impor- tant, as doing so has been shown to reduce the likelihood of them experiencing depression and other mental health issues. What’s more, by remaining socially active seniors can prevent or mitigate cognitive impairments. If the senior you’re visiting is isolated, help them come up with a plan to make new friends in the new year. While holiday visits are welcome, it’s just as important to visit the seniors you care about throughout the year. Regular visits will keep you abreast of their health and overall condition and help stave off social isolation to boot.
Francis Drouin Député fédéral, MP Glengarry - Prescott - Russell
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