When an elderly loved one needs help at home, it is not always obvious. In fact, it is usually the people who are closest that are the last to notice warning signs. Why? Familiarity. When changes happen gradually over time, it can be easy to overlook changes. This is why so many accidents occur before assistance is provided. By knowing what signs to look for, you can be one step ahead as you help with deciding factors such as what safety measures need to be taken for your parent’s continued well being.
It is common for aging seniors to downplay various difficulties or accidents in fear of loosing independence, becoming a burden or worrying their family. Reassure your loved one that making changes in the home or providing assistance is not aimed to take away independence but to increase it’s longevity. Providing resources will decrease chances of serious injury leading to a complete lifestyle change. Don’t let a traumatic event be the “wake up call” for your family.
Here is a list of warning signs that your aging loved one may need extra help in the home.
Signs of Injury
Signs of injury can be an indication that your loved one is having difficulty taking care of themselves or that the home is in need of safe proofing.
- Sudden limping
Changes in Physical Ability or Appearance
These types of changes may be the result of various health issues or decreased mobility.
- Difficulty getting around
- Noticeable weight loss
- Neglected hygiene
- Mismatched clothing
Behavior changes may be an indication that a bigger issue is at play. Make an appointment with a physician if your loved one is consistently exhibiting out of character behavior.
- Odd behavior
- Changes in language
- Agitation, especially in the evenings/night
- Noticeable changes in mood or personality
- Accusing others of being against them or stealing their personal property
- Lack of involvement/hobbies cease to exist
- Consistent use of poor judgment
- Memory loss
- Increased forgetfulness such as missing appointments or unable to keep up with medication
Unusual Amounts of Clutter
Lack of home maintenance may be a sign that help is needed due to physical, mental and or emotional changes.
- Stacks of unopened mail
- Large amounts of dirty laundry
- Old food in the refrigerator
- Piles of dirty dishes
- Overgrown lawn
- Overall appearance of the home is unkempt
Changes in Routine
Although it is expected that our loves ones routines may simplify as they age, sometimes changes such as the those listed below are indicators that help is now necessary.
- No longer cooking/change in diet
- Hobbies cease
- Decreased social contact
- Calling people repeatedly at unusual hours
If your loved one needs help, the next step is determining what kind. A geriatric care manager can help assist you and your family by providing a detailed assessment to find out what solutions are needed. The good news is, from nutritious meal delivery to in-home caregiving, there are more resources available for the elderly than ever before.