November 18, 2022 by Dean Bellefeuille


It’s been months since you’ve had the chance to enjoy a good, long visit with Mom. Now that the holiday season is here, you have the opportunity for some uninterrupted time to catch up. Of course, you’ll want to make the most of this quality time together, but visiting aging parents for the holidays is also the perfect time to assess how they are really doing, and if there are any changes in their health that may have gone undetected through phone calls and FaceTime.

To help make the most of this time together, let’s think through areas of possible concern to evaluate. We’ve compiled the following list of questions to use as a starting point. Some questions you may wish to ask a senior outright, while others can be answered by observing the home environment and the person herself.

Physical/Mental Health

  1. Does the older adult seem to be moving more slowly and cautiously?
  2. Is she stumbling or holding onto furniture or the wall to get around?
  3. Does she seem short of breath?
  4. Is she eating more or less than usual?
  5. Is she having trouble falling or staying asleep?
  6. Is she actively engaged in enjoyable activities?
  7. Is she spending time with friends?
  8. Does she seem happy and content?
  9. Has she gained or lost weight?
  10. Do you notice any bruises or other injuries that could indicate a fall?

Cognitive Functioning

  1. Does she seem more forgetful or confused than usual?
  2. Is she struggling to remember the names of familiar people or objects?
  3. Is she misplacing items, only to find them in unexpected places, such as the car keys in the bathroom?
  4. Are you noticing any unusual behaviors?
  5. Is she repeating questions or statements in conversations?
  6. Are there pieces of mail and bills that have not been opened?

Elder/Financial Abuse

  1. Does the older adult seem more timid or anxious than usual?
  2. Is she communicating with strangers online?
  3. Has she provided anyone with personal information over the phone or internet?
  4. Has she cosigned for a loan for anyone?
  5. Are there any changes in her banking activity?
  6. Does she suddenly have a new “friendship” with someone whose motives may be questionable?

Home Maintenance

  1. Is the home cleaned to her typical standards?
  2. Is the yard maintained?
  3. Is there clutter in the home that could pose a fall risk?
  4. Is the laundry clean and put away?
  5. Are the bed linens being changed regularly?
  6. Are there any hazards you’re noticing, such as scorch marks on pans or the countertop that could indicate inattention to cooking?

If you have any concerns about your loved one’s safety or wellbeing, no matter how small, home care can help provide peace of mind while enabling independent living. Contact At Home Independent Living at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to explore options for elder care in Fayetteville, NY and surrounding areas. Please see our full service area.