For many Americans, the Holiday season is one of the few times during the year that adults and their older loved ones spend quality time together. The Holidays may be a time when families face and discuss the difficult decisions about finding care for their older relative. The Eldercare Locator has produced a guide to help families and older Americans determine if help is needed. Any one of the behaviors listed may or may not indicate that an action should be taken and your family member’s physician should be kept informed of physical or psychological behavior changes.
Has Your Family Member:
1. Changed eating habits within the last year resulting in weight loss, having no appetite, or missed meals?
2. Neglected personal hygiene resulting in wearing dirty clothes, body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, sores on the skin?
3. Neglected their home so it is not as clean or sanitary as you remember growing up?
4. Exhibited inappropriate behavior by being unusually loud or quiet, paranoid, agitated, making phone calls at all hours?
5. Changed relationship patterns such that friends and neighbors have expressed concerns?
6. Had physical problems such as burns or injury marks resulting from general weakness, forgetfulness, or possible misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?
7. Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were previously important to them such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services?
8. Exhibited forgetfulness resulting in unopened mail, piling newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missed appointments?
9. Mishandled finances such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?
10. Made unusual purchases such as buying more than one magazine subscription of the same magazine, entered an unusual amount of contests, increased usage of purchasing from television advertisements?
Either of the above could be a sign that something is terribly wrong. The Eldercare Locator helps individuals and families gain access to state area agencies on aging and other local aging service providers. Senior Connections, The Capital Area Agency on Aging provides a variety of services that promote healthy aging and help seniors remain in their homes and communities. These include:
• Case Management: Case managers work with family members and older adults to
assess, arrange and evaluate supportive efforts of seniors and their families to
• Nutrition Services: Home Delivered Meals are nutritious meals delivered to
the homes of older persons who are homebound. Friendship Cafes provide the
opportunity for persons aged 60 and over to enjoy a meal and socialize with their
• Senior Centers: Offer recreational and educational programs, seminars, events and
activities for the active and less active older adult.
• Telephone Reassurance: Provides regular contact and safety check by trained
volunteers to reassure and support seniors and persons with disabilities who are
To learn more about services offered by Senior Connections, please call 343-3000 or visit www.seniorconnections-va.org. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging and administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in cooperation with the National Association of State Units on Aging. To access services and for information on programs in your area, contact the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.