One of the hardest things to accept as we age is when we can no longer do things that we once took for granted. From driving to meal planning and preparation, seniors often need additional help, but it can be hard to admit when your senior loved one needs help at home, especially when that also means decreased independence and autonomy. Many people struggle to recognize that their abilities have changed and to ask for help, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t needed. Here are some signs to watch for and what you can do if your senior loved one needs more in-home help than they currently receive.
One of the red flags that is easiest to spot is declining health. Here are some of the most important signs to watch for.
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Hearing or vision changes
- Decreased mobility or balance issues
- Aches or pain
- Incontinence or constipation
- Extreme hunger or thirst, which could be signs of diabetes
- Difficulty with daily tasks
- Cognitive or memory changes
If you or your loved one has a chronic health condition or is recovering from a surgery or medical procedure, he or she may need additional assistance at home. Whether this means help with mobility, medication management, assistance with personal hygiene, or something else, even if the help is only temporary, help from a trusted caregiver can provide peace of mind for all.
An untidy home
If the home is beginning to feel cluttered, dirty, or generally in disarray when your loved one has historically kept a tidy home, this could be a sign that he or she needs assistance managing the home.
Other signs to watch for include:
- Unopened mail, late payment notices or overdue bills.
- Furniture and carpets that are stained or wet
- Signs of incontinence, such as a strong urine odor in the home
- Trouble with general upkeep, including things like the lawn, snow removal or garbage collection
- Unfilled prescriptions
Inedible food or trouble preparing meals
If your loved one is experiencing difficulty preparing food or keeping edible food in the house at all, additional help may be needed. Here are some signs to look for to establish whether extra help is warranted.
- Rotten food that hasn’t been thrown away.
- Little or no fresh, healthy food or overall low food supply.
- Cookware with burn marks, which may mean that food has been left unattended and could present a fire hazard.
- Significant weight loss due to difficulty cooking, poor diet, shopping for food, trouble keeping edible food in the home, etc.
Whether your loved one needs assistance with grocery shopping, preparing meals, or clearing out spoiled food from the home, help is available.
Poor personal hygiene
A decline in personal hygiene can also be a sign that your loved one could benefit from in-home senior care. Dignity is important, especially as we age, and it can be hard to watch a loved one diminish in his or her ability to take care of personal tasks. The good news is that help is available!
Here are some additional signs to look for that your senior loved one may need additional help.
- Untidy appearance caused by difficulty with grooming and dressing
- Less frequent showering or bathing
- Unpleasant body odor
- Disheveled hair, untrimmed nails, and/or poor oral hygiene
- Scrapes, bruises, wounds or other marks on the body which may mean that a senior has fallen or is having trouble ambulating.
Financial and legal recordkeeping
If you notice unpaid bills or an increased amount of spending by your loved one, these could be signs that something is amiss. It’s especially important to pay attention to these types of changes as your loved one could fall victim to a scam or elder abuse.
He or she may also need assistance with legal documents and recordkeeping if there are memory or cognitive changes. You may be able to help with some of these tasks yourself, but it can also be very helpful to have an intermediary help to make sure that everything is completed and in order, particularly when it comes to legal documents.
Changes in mental status or memory
Whether related to memory decline or another medical or mental health condition, changes in mental status or memory should always be assessed by a healthcare professional. Here are some of the signs that could indicate an issue.
- Changes in or lack of motivation and drive
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities he or she once found enjoyable
- Trouble keeping track of time
- Increased agitation
- Verbally or physically abusive behaviors
- Failing or forgetting to return phone calls
- Extreme mood swings or changes in mood
- General forgetfulness
- Missing important appointments
- Lapses in memory