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Holidays Reveal Warning Signs for Aging Parents

Family members who live nearby often don’t notice the slow and subtle changes that might mean Mom or Dad needs a little more day-to-day help.

Home Helpers, a national network of professional in-home caregivers, says requests for evaluations increase this time of year in part because of the fresh perspectives that out-of-town family members bring to the discussion.

If you’re visiting elderly relatives this holiday season, take special note of these four key signs that there might be a need for support:

1. Physical appearance — Are they keeping up with personal hygiene? Do you notice any significant weight gain or loss?

2. Memory — Is your loved one remembering things accurately? Is your senior alert and actively involved in conversations?

3. Motor skills — Do you notice your loved one struggling with kitchen or other household tasks that recently were simple to execute?

4. Mood — Does your loved one seem happy? Do you notice mood swings or unexplained irritability?

Family caregiving is a team effort and family members are all in it together. If you’re the local caregiver, ask for and listen to your out-of-town siblings’ points of view. If you’re visiting an older loved one from out of town over the holidays, ask yourself and your family these questions. It could make all the difference.

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