“It has been forever! You look so different!”
Joyful cries of greeting such as these are so common at the holidays that we don’t notice them. However, if someone has changed but we don’t feel comfortable mentioning it, that’s a very important change.
Modern families see each other less and less. Work and/or geography get in the way, and the most face-time many of us get with our extended families is at the holidays. We all want to keep an eye out for the ones we love, and the line between wanting to honor the autonomy of adults and wanting to prevent problems is difficult to walk. However:
Did you notice anything like this over your holiday visit?
- Are there bruises? Signs of a fall? Noticeable loss of weight?
- Are they wearing messy, baggy clothes? Poor hygiene? Smell of urine anywhere?
- Is the refrigerator full of spoiled or moldy food?
- Do they have trouble finding words used regularly in conversation?
- Are they moodier than you remember them? Not interested in their hobbies anymore?
If you did, you’re not being nosy. These are real signs of decline, and you need to address them with your loved one with respect and care. They could be fixed as easily as adjusting medication, but they could also be real indicators that it’s time to sit down and have a serious talk.
It’s never easy, but change rarely is. The good news, is that we’ve done all this before, and we’re here to help if you want to talk. If you just found out that this is your life, and you suddenly need answers, I can help with a consultation. If you don’t know what to do, just call. We’ll figure it out together.