Interim Healthcare 10 Holiday Tips How to Spot Changes

10 Holiday Tips from Leading Home Healthcare Franchisor; How To Spot Changes in Elderly Loved Ones for Safety Now and Beyond the Holidays

December 17, 2014 // // SUNRISE, FL - As families gather for the holidays, they may notice changes in elderly loved ones whom they haven't seen for several months. Change in mobility and cognition are inevitable and the conversation is a difficult one to encourage a senior to get additional healthcare assistance in the home. However, home healthcare and personal assistance is an important step to keep seniors safe in their own homes and it's important to discuss with family and loved ones.

Karen Carnes, BSN, RN, MSN and Chief Clinical Officer at Interim HealthCare, has assembled these 10 tips to help families navigate the waters of determining whether it's time to get help from an outside caregiver. More information and a quick guide can be found in this free Independent Living Assessment.

  1. Watch for changes in activities of daily living, like shopping, using the telephone and difficulty with laundry.
  2. Note eating habits. Is food in the fridge or pantry expired? Is a range of food groups and proper nutrition represented? Are there indications of alcohol overuse/abuse?
  3. Are there changes in hygiene or signs of difficulty bathing? If so, install handrails in bathroom around the commode and tub, get rid of tripping hazards like rugs, and be sure proper bathing supplies are available.
  4. Are there changes in mood, sleep habit and/or signs of depression or anxiety? 
  5. Memory games and puzzles stimulate the mind. Note any cognitive problems and consult a professional if you sense something out of the ordinary.
  6. If mobility is an issue, be sure proper safety precautions and sturdy rails/hand holds are in key locations in the home. Remove throw rugs and other tripping hazards. Reduce or eliminate the need to climb stairs. (All activities of daily living should be on one floor.)
  7. Notice if medications are being taken according to schedule.  Are there extra pills lying about?  Has it been a long time since the last prescription was filled?  It might be necessary to provide additional medication monitoring.
  8. Notice medications in the home and realize that drugs may mimic (or mask) certain behavioral issues.
  9. Begin discussions about the difficult topic of end-of-life issues. If the family addresses this now, you'll know your loved one's wishes in terms of medical details, financial and insurance documentation, wishes for resuscitation, funeral arrangements. Know where your loved one keeps important documents, know how to access the information and know with whom they have consulted (lawyers, financial advisors, doctors, etc.)
  10. Don't write off behavior that causes you concern as "just a sign of aging." Consult a health care professional.

Interim HealthCare has been meeting home healthcare needs since 1966. Across its nationwide system of 330 homecare, hospice and medical staffing franchise locations, Interim HealthCare franchisees employ nurses, therapists, aides, companions and other healthcare professionals who provide 25 million hours of home care service to 190,000 people each year.

About Interim HealthCare

Interim HealthCare Inc., founded in 1966, is a leading national franchisor of home care, hospice and healthcare staffing. It is part of Caring Brands International, which also includes UK-based Bluebird Care and Australia-based Just Better Care, both well-known franchise brands in their countries. With more than 530 franchise locations in seven countries Caring Brands International is a global health care leader.

Interim HealthCare in the United States is unique in combining the commitment of local ownership with the support of a national organization that develops innovative programs and quality standards that improve the delivery of service. Franchisees employ nurses, therapists, aides, companions and other healthcare professionals who provide 25 million hours of home care service to 190,000 people each year, meeting a variety of home health, senior care, hospice, palliative care, pediatric care and healthcare staffing needs. For more information or to locate an Interim HealthCare office, visit

SOURCE Interim HealthCare


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