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Observing Ageing Loved Ones at Christmas

For many of us lucky enough, Christmas is a time full of family catch ups, seeing relatives and friends that you haven’t for a while and probably indulging in a few too many serves of Christmas pudding. For some, it can be a challenging time of year as we experience Christmas without a loved one that may no longer be with us.

This time of year often gives us an insight into how our ageing loved ones are coping and can give us space to reflect on their general wellbeing. Most of us don’t see our ageing loved one’s day to day, so might be surprised by how much their health, cognition, communication or general demeanour may have changed. This often sparks discussion amongst family members about their observations and what the next steps might be.

For some, this may simply involve a discussion with your loved about how they feel they are coping. Typically, people fall into one of the following categories (and I’m sure you already know which one…)

  • Aware, but not wanting to accept help OR

  • Unaware and definitely not wanting to accept help

And then very occasionally there are those who are self-aware and willing to accept whatever help is available to them – if this is your loved one, give them an extra serve of pudding!

Now I don’t recommend starting an in-depth discussion about your loved one’s care needs over the Christmas table. However, if you have an inkling they might be needing some help, I encourage you to take a step back and really observe the following:

  • Has their mobility changed in the past 12 months?

  • Has their ability to keep up with conversation changed in the past 12 months?

  • Has their personal appearance/hygiene changed in the past 12 months?

  • Are they showing signs of memory loss or confusion? (Information re: the 10 key signs here)

  • Are they eating as much as they regularly would or has their weight changed?

  • Are they engaging socially as much as usual or are they reclusive?

These questions will start to form your answer as to whether it may be time to have a discussion with your loved one about accepting aged care services. I have a podcast episode on starting these challenging discussions and have linked it here.

I know first-hand that it can be hard getting loved ones to accept help, but I also know that with time, gentle persuasion and delivering your concern from a place of love, you can usually get somewhere. If you would like some assistance navigating these conversations, please feel free to get in touch.

You can view my full range of services here and I’m contactable via mobile on 0402 353 426 or at

I hope you have a beautiful festive season!

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