With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of us are making plans to celebrate with family and friends, including parents, grandparents and other loved ones who are getting older. According to InnovAge – a nonprofit organization that serves as the comprehensive resource for Colorado’s aging population – this quality time is also an ideal opportunity to take note of potential warning signs that aging family members may be in need of additional help and support.

“During the year, our busy schedules may not permit us to see each other as much as we’d like,” said Lesley Reeder, vice president of nursing services and excellence for InnovAge. “As a result, a lot of these warning signs can go unnoticed. The holidays allow us to spend an extended period of time with those close to us, and give us a chance to witness any behaviors that could indicate a deeper problem.”

Because it is not uncommon for us to have a hard time admitting our loved ones are getting older, InnovAge encourages you to listen to your intuition and follow your instincts. “We know our family members better than anyone, and we can sense when something is out of character or unusual,” explained Reeder. To help you recognize when it is time to take action, InnovAge offers the following list of nine common warning signs.

  • Unexplained weight loss could indicate difficulty with grocery shopping, cooking and / or swallowing, or a more serious health issue such as malnutrition, dementia, depression or cancer.


  • Failure to dress in clean clothes or change clothes regularly, or keep up with daily routines such as bathing, brushing of teeth and other basic grooming.


  • Changes in the way the house is maintained; for example, burned-out light bulbs, overgrown yard or dirty bathrooms.


  • Increased confusion or agitation.


  • Forgetting to renew or take medications, or taking the incorrect dosage.


  • Forgetting to turn off appliances (watch for scorched pots on the stove).


  • Trouble organizing paperwork, paying bills or dealing with clutter.


  • Reluctance to walk usual distances or visible unsteadiness indicates your loved one is at a greater risk of falling – a major cause of disability among the elderly.


  • Avoidance of social activities and opportunities for stimulation and companionship.

If you see one or more of these signs, please call InnovAge for information about how we can help your loved one become healthier and happier while living at home. InnovAge is here to help seniors and caregivers, alike.

InnovAge provides a full spectrum of services to enable older adults to live independently in their homes and communities. InnovAge offers home care services, healthcare and day programs, care management and memory loss programs. For more information about InnovAge, please visit or call 303-869-4664.

Tags: innovage, seniors

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