Home for the Holidays: Signs a Loved One May Need Assisted Living

Posted By on December 1, 2022

During the holidays, families come together to celebrate the things that matter most. It’s a wonderful time to connect, share a meal, and partake in favorite family traditions! If you live far from your older relatives, this might be the first time you’ve been able to visit with them, which always makes the holiday season special.

However, when you finally visit your aging relatives this season, you might notice changes in their behavior or lifestyle, many of which can be worrisome. Therefore, this is an opportunity to check in on your older family members and look for any signs indicating they could benefit from assisted living. 

HarborChase Senior Living wants to ensure that your aging relatives are safe, taken care of, and receiving any assistance they might need. Our senior living communities specialize in assisted living services to ensure individuals experience an enhanced and empowering lifestyle!

What to Look for When Visiting a Loved One

During holiday celebrations, you might be focusing on catching up with family, giving gifts, or partaking in your family’s unique and special traditions. This means that you might not notice any behavioral or lifestyle changes initially.

However, it’s crucial to take the time to look for any causes for concern, especially when it comes to your loved one’s ability to complete activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are the fundamental and routine tasks required to take care of oneself and are essential for a person’s health and quality of life. 

Here are some areas to pay attention to while you’re home for the holidays, related to how your loved one might interact with family, behave, or present themselves.

Changes in Appearance or Physical Capabilities

You might notice your relative has a lack of appetite or has developed poor eating habits during family meals and celebrations. 

  • Are they showing significant weight loss (or gain) compared to the last time you saw them?

In addition, watch for any signs of decline in regard to their personal hygiene. 

  • Is their hair unkempt or tangled? 
  • Does it seem like they’ve made strange outfit choices?
  • Are they properly dressed for the winter weather?
  • Are they exhibiting poor hygiene, or does it seem like they haven’t bathed or washed their hair recently?

Changes in Behavior or Cognitive Abilities

Perhaps the easiest sign to notice, and undoubtedly the hardest, is a loss of interest in activities or spending time with loved ones during holiday gatherings. They might seem withdrawn or uninterested in participating in any games, celebrations, or traditions. Be sure to make a note of these occurrences. 

In addition, your relative might have trouble remembering dates or events and might confuse the names of those around them. Or they might become easily agitated or distracted during conversations or if they’re having trouble with memory.

Changes in Household Maintenance

There might be an unusual amount of clutter in their home, such as stacks of unopened mail or bills or even unfilled prescriptions. 

Signs of unsafe activity, like scratches on their car or burn marks on cookware, can indicate that tasks like driving or cooking are becoming challenging for them.

Concerned Neighbors and Friends

If your loved one’s friends or neighbors drop by to say hello during a holiday gathering, be honest and ask them if they noticed anything different or concerning. They might have noticed your relative’s changes due to their close proximity. 

Talking with a Loved One About Assisted Living

If you notice any of these signs, it could indicate that your relative would benefit from moving to an assisted living community. Assisted living communities offer a balance for older adults who need a helping hand in their everyday routine while allowing them to safely maintain their independence. 

When you notice signs that they’re struggling to complete fundamental tasks and daily routines, it can be hard to know what to do next. Remember, no one wants to admit they’ve reached a point where it has become difficult to take care of themselves.

While keeping this in mind, approach the conversation respectfully, ideally after any large get-togethers with other family members or friends. 

Start by asking some simple questions, and be careful not to get too personal or come off as insulting. Instead, you want to have a conversation that allows you to gauge the level of care or assistance they might need. Here are a few examples:

  • “While I’m here, is there anything you’d like me to help with around the house?” This will allow you to help your relative with cleaning or home maintenance that needs to be done, but it will also let you get a clearer picture of the household upkeep that they need extra help with.
  • “I noticed that you were quiet/upset during dinner. Are you feeling alright?” If your loved one exhibited any changes in behavior or cognitive abilities listed above, simply ask them if they’ve been feeling okay recently. This gives them a chance to open up to a trusted relative about any personal changes they’ve noticed in themselves or any other issues they might be having. 
  • “I saw that your fridge was empty earlier. Would you like me to go grocery shopping with you?” By helping your family member stock their fridge or pantry, you’ll be able to discuss any mobility changes or recent eating habits that they’ve developed. Once again, this opens up the conversation for your relative to speak freely about any recent changes they’ve experienced so that you can better understand the care they need. 

By starting this conversation to understand their needs, you can help them develop an assisted living plan.

How Assisted Living Can Support Your Family

Beyond assistance with ADLs, mobility, and medication management, HarborChase assisted living communities offer social events and activities s that focus on hobbies and passions. Our senior living communities also offer exceptional amenities, including:

  • Elevated cuisine and on-site dining venues
  • Resort-style living options 
  • Fitness Center
  • Cooking and art classes
  • Enriching day excursions
  • And so much more!

There’s nothing like spending the season with your loved ones during the holidays. But when you notice any concerning signs that perhaps your aging relatives can no longer continue to live alone, it’s important to keep track of any changes to ensure that your loved one is safe, happy, and healthy all year round. 

HarborChase wants your family to make the most out of this holiday season, and we encourage you to use any upcoming family gatherings to check in on the ones you love. 

We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our assisted living services and find a HarborChase community near you.