Holiday Visit Checklist and Top 10 Gifts for Seniors

home careHeading home to Minneapolis to visit a senior for the holidays? Often times, it isn’t until we see for ourselves how Mom or Dad is living that we get involved in their care at home and begin to inquire about services. Even if you’ve recently visited Mom or Dad, now is the time complete a checklist to make sure the conditions of aging aren’t jeopardizing your senior’s health and safety. Complete this checklist provided by Home Instead Senior Care® Minneapolis. If you see any of these situations, your senior may need extra help.

  1. Look in the medicine cabinet. Review the number of pills prescribed, refill date and number of pills in the bottle to help determine if your loved one is taking the accurate amount of medication. According to Arcadia Healthcare, at least 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications and it’s the number two cause of hospital re-admittance.
  2. Look in the refrigerator, freezer and drawers. Spoiled food or an empty refrigerator can mean your elderly loved one can’t get to the grocery store. Declining health may be prompting more convenience and junk foods, and a neglect of proper nutrition. According to Mayo Clinic here in Minnesota, older adults often have health issues that can lead to decreased appetite or trouble eating. These can include chronic illness, difficulty chewing or swallowing and diminished taste and smell.
  3. Look on top of furniture and countertops. Dust and dirt in high and low places of their home may be signs that household tasks are becoming more difficult for your parents. Caution your senior not to climb or reach where they’re no longer able. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury and deaths among older adults. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  4. Look at your senior’s appearance. Unkempt clothing may signal that your loved one is neglecting personal hygiene because of failing vision. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota cites macular degeneration as the leading cause of severe vision loss in people age 60 and older. Gray or blank spots may mask the center of your senior’s visual field. The condition usually develops gradually, but sometimes progresses rapidly, leading to severe vision loss in one or both eyes.
  5. Look under beds and sofas. Old newspapers, books and magazines stowed there may show a decreased ability for your parent to organize things which creates a fire hazard. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, older adults are 2.5 times more likely to die in fires than the overall population. It may also be a sign of hoarding which is caused by a mental condition.
  6. Look to your parents’ Minneapolis area neighbors to find out about their daily routine. If your seniors are at home more, watching television and avoiding stimulating conversation and companionship or not getting their mail daily, it may be a sign they need help at home.
  7. Look through the mail. A parent’s dementia may cause him or her to forget to pay bills and answer correspondence. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that as many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with the disease, which is characterized by forgetfulness.

If it appears that Mom or Dad need home care services or you’d simply feel better if someone checked in on them, consider contacting Home Instead Senior Care. Our CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured, and equipped to help seniors with their home care and companionship needs such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errands and shopping.

Top 10 Holiday Requests Seniors Likely Want But Won’t Ask For

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What do you get Grandma this year? A new blanket . . . again? How about a pair of slippers? While those gifts could satisfy the needs or desires of a senior loved one, why not choose a present that is even more meaningful: a gift from the heart. Once you choose something, download this Holiday Elf Certificate, write down your intended activity and give it to the senior in your life as the best holiday gift they could get.

  1. Wrap and send packages. Arthritis can make wrapping those holiday presents a challenge. Schedule a gift-wrapping afternoon, complete with hot chocolate, cookies and plenty of family stories.
  2. Take your loved one shopping. Whether you plan a trip to the Minnesota Mall of America or an online shopping spree, make it a special day.
  3. Send holiday greetings. Offer to spend an afternoon helping your loved one address and send holiday cards, either by mail or as online photo greetings. This helps friends & family to know that your Mom or Dad is doing well and makes it more likely that they’ll receive holiday cards from others.
  4. Lend a hand.  Carry on the holiday cooking traditions, asking your senior loved one to help where he or she can. Or, ask everyone to bring a favorite dish.
  5. Focus on others. Get your senior loved one and the entire family involved in gathering supplies for a homeless shelter or serving a holiday meal at Mom or Dad’s church.
  6. Deck the halls. Bending, lifting and reaching to get those holiday decorations in place isn’t always possible for an older adult. Enlist the help of the grandkids and make decorating their home a fun multi-generational activity.
  7. Stay connected. Help an older adult connect with loved ones far away, whether over the phone or through a video-calling service like Skype. Show them how to use it so that you can stay connected all year!
  8. Plan a fun event. Get a group of your senior loved one’s friends together to serenade other older adults in an assisted living facility or Minneapolis nursing home.
  9. Celebrate the reason for the season. Attend a religious program with your senior loved one. Be flexible with service times if necessary.
  10. Give the gift of time. Sometimes all an older adult wants is companionship. Download this holiday activity calendar for festive activity suggestions, then make room in your schedule to spend time together.

While you may not be able to add the following 10 gift ideas to a shopping list, you can bet they’re on your loved one’s wish list.

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