Admitting they need help and accepting assistance for everyday tasks is not easy for elderly people. This is especially true when the responsibility falls on siblings and children as seniors feel they’ve become a burden on their loved ones. However, it is natural that aging brings about certain physiological, intellectual and emotional changes, which leave people feeling frail, vulnerable and unable to look after themselves. Recognizing the signs of an aging loved in need of support with completing daily living tasks is important, so you know how and when to step in and make personal home care arrangements for your parents.
How do you know if it is time for assisted care? Look for the red flags listed below.
• Poor diet habits and hygiene
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain (constant feeling of hunger may indicate Alzheimer’s or a recent stroke)
• Difficulty keeping track of time
• Motor difficulties, such as getting up, sitting down, walking or keeping balance
• Uncertainty and confusion when performing everyday tasks
• Loss of interest in hobbies and social activities
• Abnormal sleep patterns
• Forgetfulness and skipping medical appointments
• Mood swings, irritability, aggression
• Poor judgement, confusion, extreme naivety (falling for scams and sales pitches)
• Unkempt appearance and/or house
• Debts or late payment notices
Of course, if any of these signs are present, it doesn’t necessarily mean a move to assisted living is required. However, they are red flags that indicate that daily supportive care may be needed for your parent. It may be time to sit down and look at some personal home care companies and options to make informed and confident decisions.
While changes in physical and cognitive abilities that occur with age can be difficult to detect – using the above list can be a good starting point for family members and caregivers. If more than three of the above mentioned behaviors are present in an elderly person – this is an indication that you need to take action. It is also important to inform the older adult’s physician of these changes.
Often, when a senior needs help, simple changes in their daily routine can make a big improvement, and some of these indicators are directly related to a pre-existing condition or can be fixed by a change in medication. It’s always best to be careful and involved to avoid a crisis situation that throws everyone into an emotional reaction. Calm, rational transitions are easier for everyone as opposed to waiting until a senior is severely incapacitated to take care of himself or herself.
Finally, remember to always trust your own judgment when it comes to what’s best for your aging parent. After all, you know them the most and are able to detect any changes in the way they move, act, think, eat, and respond to situations – as subtle as they may be. From that point, you can either take on the responsibility of helping your elderly parent yourself with the limited time that you have between work and your personal life or turn to a professional with experience to deal with a physical or medical crisis. Both of these result in undue stress for you and the senior. Stay proactive and aware of the senior’s needs as well as your own. There are plenty of tools and solutions to address every issue and keep everyone healthy and safe. If you need to talk to someone or receive guidance – you can get in touch with a personal home care company in your area. There are people near you, who are qualified caregivers and skilled at making everyone’s life easier and less stressful!