Leverage your loved ones to help determine how you’re really doing.
For most people, the holiday season is an exciting time of year! The delicious food, seasonal festivities, and quality time with family, friends, and other loved ones. The holidays provide an opportunity to catch up with the people close to us that we may not usually see as often as we would like.
These visits allow for great memories to be made. But after time apart, it can also bring to light some challenges that have gone unnoticed due to their slow progression, and your family may be able to help notice changes in you - changes impact you more than you may know without realizing it.
As a population, we are fortunate to be living longer than ever, and because of this, we will all face decisions that will support or undermine a safe and healthy mind, body, and spirit. It’s important to consider simple lifestyle changes and choices that can positively support safe and healthy aging.
As always, Gordon’s is here to help. We want to help you understand the signs to look for during this holiday season and help you to feel comfortable discussing and considering new decisions. We understand that everyone should have the lifestyle they want - but sometimes a change in living situation can be a necessary step for a positive future.
Signs that can help you identify if you (or others you know) may need help:
How is your memory? Mild signs of confusion, seeming a little disorientated, or slight forgetfulness can be normal and happens to us all as we age. However, if you or your family are noticing severe signs of cognitive decline, such as very overdue bills, forgetting to turn appliances off, forgetting medications, or anything else that is potentially putting you and your well-being at risk this is a cause for concern. Another common sign of cognitive decline is if you aren’t as ‘with it’ as you once were, and are fading in and out of the present when those around you are trying to hold a conversation and engage with you - something you’ll likely need their help in determining.
How are you mentally stimulated? It’s important to have an understanding of what your day-to-day activity is like and understand what you are doing to keep your mind busy; for example, you may participate in hobbies, see friends, go for walks, etc. However, if your cognitive state is declining you are at greater risk of isolation as you may not feel confident in leaving your home and therefore maybe not getting the mental stimulation you really need to stay mentally fit.
Are you easily overwhelmed by tasks? If you’re noticing that perhaps your home environment or your hygiene & appearance have changed significantly from the standard you used to hold yourself to, this may be a sign that you are struggling with common tasks. If so, it may be time to seek the help of others so that you can sustain your ideal environment, hygiene, and appearance standards.
How is your mobility & overall health? If you are struggling to walk, having serious trouble getting up from furniture, or seem unsteady or off-balance, it is important to recognize this. It is important to note any recent falls or injuries as this may be having an impact. A few other signs that your health is in decline are difficulty breathing, dropping things, struggling to eat, not sleeping well, and avoiding any exercise, among several others. It’s important to be mindful of your overall health and, if you aren’t sure, seek the observations of those around you who can compare it to the last time they saw you.
Do you need more care than you are getting? In questioning your activities as a result of their physical state, ask yourself: Should I be driving? Can I manage to move around my home safely and with ease? Should I be completing regular tasks such as grocery shopping alone? If these questions and thoughts fill you with concern, it may be time to consider some support and other living options.
Are you happy & lively? Are others noticing a change in your typically cheery disposition? Are you happy, conversational, and engaged? Is your energy level good? Are you talking positively about your life, social activities, and friends? If there are red flags when thinking about these questions, such as seeming withdrawn, depressed, irritable, and reluctant to participate and engage in conversation, this can be cause for concern if it is out of character for you.
What do you enjoy day to day? Activities, hobbies, events, and tasks - everyone has different interests and it’s important to recognize and understand what makes you happiest day-to-day. If you are doing those things less or finding them challenging alongside daily life, it’s important to note.
Once you have considered these categories, it’s important to consider their current living situation and question whether it is still the best place to foster health and happiness, or whether it’s time to consider a change.
How to assess and address these signs (don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones to help you with this evaluation):
Stage 1. Observe
Look out for the signs mentioned above and take a mental or physical note of the areas of concern so that you can monitor the situation if you want to give it some time to see how things progress. This will be helpful for discussing issues at a later date if you decide it is necessary to pursue other options.
Stage 2. Discuss
If it is time to have a heartfelt conversation about observations, you and your loved ones should present the circumstances and concerns with care as this can be an emotional conversation for everyone. It can be a good idea to book an appointment with your appointed physician for an evaluation so you and those you trust around you can determine the next steps and have medical support and reasoning.
Stage 3. Face tough realities & take action
If the reality is that you are in serious need of help at home, or that it may be the best time for a change in living situation, now is the time to begin compiling a to-do list that can be worked on in the short term. This may include; medical, legal, and financial. You may want the help of your family to flesh this out.
This is also where the Gordon’s Team can help. Since 1957, we’ve specialized in serving the unique needs of seniors who are going through major life transitions such as: finding a retirement community or property, downsizing to smaller accommodations, selling or buying a property, settling an estate, and more. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your loved ones.