Holidays offer an opportunity to check on senior adults, Oklahoma health experts say

Family members should talk with older loved ones about their physical and emotional needs, Oklahoma health experts say.
BY THERESA GREEN Published: December 29, 2012
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The holidays bring families together. It's a time to catch up, but it's also an ideal time to check up on older loved ones' safety and well-being.

Senior health experts, as well as organizations such as AARP and the National Institute on Aging, suggest you talk to your aging parents or loved ones about their mental, physical and environment needs, while watching for signs they may need more assistance.

Be mindful of changes in mood, health and the overall appearance of your loved one and of his or her home.

“Determining if your loved one needs additional help is a big decision,” said Dr. Andrew Dentino, a geriatrician with OU Physicians Senior Health.

Dentino said a decline in physical health is sometimes evident by an unusual weight loss or gain, balance problems, incontinence, forgetfulness or wandering off.

Perhaps there has been a decline in hearing or vision that should be addressed.

Warning signs might include having difficulty hearing you or having the television or radio playing very loudly.

“When it comes to our older loved ones, warning signs can be subtle,” Dentino said.

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For more information about ensuring a healthy holiday for the entire family, visit a special Web page with helpful topics ranging from healthy eating to keeping peace during the holidays online at www.oumedicine.com/holidayhealth.

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