TAKING ACTION: Holidays give families an opportunity to notice signs of aging in loved ones

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Everyone ages differently, and this time of year, when we're seeing family we don't see every day, you might notice some changes.

"You might have family visiting from out-of-town and they start to pick up on things that you can't get from a phone call," Michelle Anderson, Community Relations Director at Thrive at Jones Farm, said.

Anderson helps care for many seniors at Thrive at Jones Farm, an assisted living and memory care facility. She said there are several things families should think about when they're all together.

"Has Mom or Dad, or your aging loved one, have they lost weight; is food in the refrigerator expired?" Anderson questioned. "Is their appearance maybe a little unkempt? Maybe mom who never left the house without lipstick doesn't really care about her appearance as much anymore."

You should also take note of the house's appearance.

"Is there unopened mail, is the laundry basket overflowing, just little things like that, is the medicine cabinet overflowing?" Anderson said about things to notice.

A recent study found that loneliness can be just as detrimental to a person's health as smoking more than a dozen cigarettes a day so make sure your loved one isn't lonely.

"Are they less involved with friends, or maybe church activities, or volunteering in social activities?" Anderson said.

Anderson said people who are hurting, or aging, won't usually ask for help. If you see any of these red flags, it's probably time to have a vital conversation following the holidays.