During the holiday season, families spend more time together. This increased one-on-one time in the presence of a senior loved one can enlighten family members regarding the level of care and/or safety that he/she may now need but is not being satisfied with independent living. Here are some warning signs family members can be aware of this season.

The most noticeable signs that a loved one is having difficulty with independent living come from the environment around them. In a healthy self-living environment, meal prep and clean-up, laundry, pet care, and sanitation are all happening. While anyone can fall behind on household chores, warning signs are worse than normal. Rotten food that your loved one doesn’t know is there can be a sign. Pets living in squalor can be another sign. Anytime someone is unable to properly clean up sanitation hazards (soiled clothing, animal or human waste, old food, etc.), this is a good reason to consider extra care.

It is not your loved one’s fault, but it may require a change in living environment.

The second set of signs to look for is personal care skills. A loved one who cannot remember to take his/her prescribed medications is a sign that some assisted living help is needed – not taking medication in a timely manner can lead to critical events later for seniors. Body care is also something that most people take for granted. But, if your loved one is unable to wash hair, brush teeth, and other basic daily care, consider that a little bit of help could make life much easier.

The third area to pay attention to is interpersonal skills. If your loved one is having difficulty participating in conversations or has significant emotional or personality swings, these could require skilled nursing or assisted living care to facilitate ease of living.

Finally, you may face a critical event during the holiday season. Often, our bodies increase stress responses as we change our schedule for the holidays. This can lead to a higher chance of falls, fractures, strokes, and other critical health events that will require skilled nursing care and long-term rehabilitation.

If your loved one exhibits these signs or others that you are concerned with, please talk to his/her medical provider. A simple change of pace may be required in an assisted living center. Or medical assistance may be needed in a skilled nursing care facility.