Home for the Holidays: Top 8 Signs An Older Loved One Needs More Support

An Ideal Time to Observe

Ah, the holidays. Does any time of year fill children with more excitement over gifts and goodies? Of fill adults with more concern over travel plans and family gatherings?

The holidays are a great time to simply observe the aging process of your loved ones and to anticipate the process of planning for the future. Depending on what you observe, you can lay the foundations for future conversations about life changes, whether that means making plans to age in place, move closer to loved ones, or find a more supported living setting.

The aging process can be disorienting both for the person who is aging and their family members. How do we know the difference between natural signs of healthy aging, and more significant changes?

Patterns to Look for

Here are some indicators that an older person might be in need of additional support to maintain their quality of life. This is not a comprehensive list.

  1. Personality changes or rapid mood swings

  2. Becoming confused, aggressive, agitated, suspicious, fearful, or paranoid

  3. A greater need for rest or a disruption of sleep patterns

  4. Difficulty walking, sitting, rising, answering the door

  5. Difficulties with remembering people’s names or to complete daily tasks

  6. Disinterest in previously enjoyed activities

  7. Neglect of residence or vehicle (Examples: accumulating mail, out-of-date food in the refrigerator, debris or fall hazards, scrapes or dents on vehicle, deterioration of landscape or home)

  8. Neglect of self-care (Examples: unkempt clothing, bruises, irregular or inadequate diet, disorganized medications, lack of hygiene, lack of social interaction)

We encourage families to discuss their concerns and plans for the future sooner rather than later. Being proactive offers the aging individual the opportunity to participate in the planning process, and to have plans in place in case a crisis occurs. Above all, it's important to reassure aging parents or grandparents that you will be present in the next phases of their lives.

Possible Solutions for Aging in Place with Technology

Not all of the concerns on this list indicate that individuals need to move to assisted living or have full-time support. With the combination of technology and home care, an individual can remain independent in his or her own home for much longer.

Here are some of the technology solutions SimplyHome to empower adults who are facing the challenges of aging:

  • Medication Management: Medication dispensers can remind individuals when it is time to take their medications. A call center can notify family or staff if medication is missed or delayed.

  • Wellness Monitoring: Blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, and pulse oximeters can collect health data in a confidential online health file. These systems send notifications if an individual’s status exceed predetermined thresholds. This type of health monitoring can prevent

  • Customized Sensor Systems: Wireless systems can promote independence with activities of daily living by utilizing sensors. Motion, door and window sensors help prevent wandering or fall concerns; stove and cabinet sensors can promote cooking safety and healthy nutrition; chair/bed pressure pads can unobtrusively monitor sleep and behavior patterns. providing alerts only when a problem is detected.

  • Preserving Independence: Notifications are sent to caregivers only when a problem is detected – this allows for senior adults to get the assistance they needed, without feeling like their privacy or independence is lost.

It can be a great gift to your loved ones to initiate conversations about these concerns, so that they can take part in a positive planning process on their care and plans for the future.

Want to learn more about these solutions? SimplyHome offers a free assessment process to discuss your loved one's goals related to safe and independent living.

Initiate Your Free Assessment With SimplyHome

Photo credits: Holiday candle, holiday cookies (Flickr)