Home for the Holidays: Does Mom Seem Different?

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Maybe Mom now pulls up a stool by the sink to peel the potatoes. Or maybe Dad has seemed to forget that you love gardening despite how often you tell him about your gardening endeavors.

When you head home for the holidays, Mom and Dad may assure you they’re doing fine, but subtle clues might indicate otherwise. It’s up to you to evaluate how well your parents are really doing and determine what steps you can take to ensure they have the assistance they need to continue living at home safely and independently.

5 Ways to Evaluate Your Loved One’s Needs During a Holiday Visit

Keep your eyes open for any of these common issues that can threaten a senior’s independence:

  1. Safety. If your father has more difficulty walking, make sure he has a cane, walker or the proper support; remove throw rugs or other potential tripping hazards; and look into installing grab bars and no-slip strips where needed. If you’re worried about falls or other safety issues, look into getting a medical alert system or hiring a professional caregiver who can check up on him frequently.
  2. Housekeeping. As many seniors experience declining health, they may have more trouble keeping up with the housework. If you notice the house looks more unkempt than usual, consider senior care services that include light housekeeping.
  3. Medication. Try to notice if your senior loved one is taking the appropriate pills at mealtimes or before bed and if he is keeping the pillbox organized. If he is not reliable with a medication schedule, you may want to look into home care services that provide medication reminders.
  4. Memory. Does Mom have trouble recalling events from that morning? Has she told you the same story over and over? You may want to keep a list of concerns to bring up with her primary care physician or neurologist.
  5. Social Engagement. Ask your mother to tell you about her friends. Social seniors generally have a healthier and more optimistic outlook on life. If she doesn’t have a strong social network, look into community activities that she may enjoy or companionship services.


If you’re unsure about the best way to diplomatically discuss the issues you uncover with your loved one, download this conversation starter guide.

If you determine that your loved one could use more assistance with every day tasks, consider how non-medical in-home senior care services like those provided by a local  Home Instead Senior Care franchise office could help. From just a few hours a week to 24/7 care, Home Instead CAREGivers can provide seniors with the assistance they need to remain independent and comfortable at home.

Home Instead Senior Care offers free care consultations that allow you and your family to sit down with a staff member and discuss care options, without having to pay for the consultation or commit to services. Find a Home Instead Senior Care location near you and schedule your free consultation while your whole family is together to make important care decisions.