11 Things to Look for While Home for the Holidays

Coming home for the holidays can be fun and exciting, seeing family and friends you may not have seen since the previous year. It can also be a stressful time trying to navigate the holidays and complex family relationships.

Often these are the times you may notice your parents and grandparents aren’t as healthy and independent as they used to be. When you ask if everything is okay, you may hear, “Everything is fine! Don’t worry.”

family-1827369_960_720As our loved one’s age, it can be very difficult for them to admit that they need help; no one wants to lose their independence. Getting some extra help will keep them in their homes longer and ensure their safety and quality of life. This is where your observations during the holiday season can serve to help your loved ones.

As you travel to see those you care about, keep these 11 signs in mind to help you decide whether it is the proper time to seek help.

  1. Red Flags: Have there been any accidents or close calls? Is there a chronic health condition, or procedure that has caused slow recovery? Do any of these things make it difficult to manage daily living activities?
  2. Personal Signs: Does your loved one look frailer or has their appearance changed, including a noticeable weight loss/gain? Do they struggle with personal hygiene?
  3. Social Signs: Has leaving the house become more difficult, or has socializing decreased with a reduction in activities and interests? Or maybe they don’t leave the house at all.
  4. Money Signs: Are there piles of mail – opened or unopened? Have bills gone unpaid or are there overdue balances?
  5. Driving Signs: Have you noticed any new nicks or dents in the car? Are driving skills lacking, such as a lack of the basic knowledge of the rules of the road? Or are they tense and easily distracted while driving?
  6. Kitchen Signs: Pay close attention to their kitchen. Is stale or expired food present? Are there multiples of the same items or has their cooking become simpler or non-existent? Have there been any kitchen fires or are broken appliances present?
  7. Household Signs: Is their house more cluttered than usual; does it show signs of poor housekeeping?
  8. Pet or Plan Care Signs: Are their plants dying, dead or gone? Or are their animals not well tended?
  9. Home Maintenance Signs: Is their house lacking basic maintenance or have the newspapers piled up?
  10. Input from others: Have you received input from family, close friends, or medical personnel expressing concern for your loved one?
  11. Caregiver Signs: What is the emotional state of their primary caregiver? Are they fatigued? Do they need assistance?

When you are enjoying the holidays this season with your elderly loved ones, please be vigilant. Be aware of their needs and help ensure their safety and comfort in their home year round. If you see any of these signs, please call or contact us to evaluate your loved one’s needs.

YWCA MFrancine and Kim looking at paperworkcLean County Home Care has been helping families in McLean County for more than 40 years. We offer non-medical in-home care/help with tasks of daily living for anyone residing in McLean County. Trained home care aides can provide services including, but not limited to light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, medication reminders, companion services, personal care assistance, transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and errands. Long or short-term care can be provided, including relief for caregivers and household help with recovery after surgery. Financial assistance may be available to veterans and their spouse or surviving spouse.

For more information, please click here or call (309) 585-3622.


Vicki Hightower is the Senior Director of Adult Services for YWCA McLean County. Vicki is passionate about seniors and helping them remain independent in their homes for as long as possible.


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