Holiday Family Portrait

Home For The Holidays: 10 Signs Your Elder Family Member May Need Help

Holiday gatherings may be one of the few times during the year when the whole family comes together under one roof. It's a great opportunity for siblings and parents to discuss critical family issues and take a sincere look at their senior family member(s) health, finances, and potential caregiving needs. The Eldercare Locator has produced a guide of "10 warning signs" to help families and older Americans determine if help is needed. Any one of the behaviors listed below may indicate the need for additional action. Ultimately, the elder family member's physician should be consulted regarding any physical or psychological behavioral changes.

Has Your Family Member...


  • Changed eating habits within the last year resulting in weight loss, having no appetite, or missed meals?

  • Neglected personal hygiene resulting in wearing dirty clothes, body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, sores on the skin?

  • Neglected their home so it is not as clean or sanitary as you remember growing up?

  • Exhibited inappropriate behavior by being unusually loud or quiet, paranoid, agitated, making phone calls at all hours?

  • Changed relationship patterns such that friends and neighbors have expressed concerns?

  • Had physical problems such as burns or injury marks resulting from general weakness, forgetfulness, or possible misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?

  • 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?

  • Exhibited forgetfulness resulting in unopened mail, piling newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missed appointments?

  • Mishandled finances such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?

  • 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?

Top Photo by Allan Henderson used under a Creative Commons License.

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Funders
MetLife Foundation The Lippey Family Trust Gladyce L. Foster
California Community Foundation