As we age, even the healthiest among us can experience physical and/or mental declines that compromise our safety. Some seniors are aware of these problems but do not tell anyone for fear of losing their independence. Others don’t notice the changes.
We all want the best for our loved ones and hope that they live long happy lives. Here are some warning signs that your loved ones may need care.
Neglect and Apathy
If your parent or relative is the type of person who is usually on top of things, it is obvious when they start to neglect the basic aspects of life. These can include falling well behind on cleaning, house and yard upkeep, shopping, paying bills, and pet care. Appliances that are part of daily living may not be functioning as they should and/or have unexplained damage. The person may not be taking their medication (or not taking the proper dosage at the proper times), and bathing or eating regularly.
Apathy can be apparent through loss of interest in activities the person normally enjoys, such as hobbies or visiting friends. The latter can be a sign of depression and intentional self-isolation.
Even if they are eating regularly, your loved one may no longer have a properly balanced diet. That can lead to further health complications and reduce their quality of life. Sometimes this is plainly obvious in their appearance through either weight gain or loss. If you are concerned and not getting answers, look at what they have in the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets.
Are they regularly drinking to the point where the alcohol is impeding them physically and mentally, or creating potentially dangerous behaviour? Seniors are especially vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, and aging changes the way alcohol affects us. Alcohol abuse can be a factor in other warning signs that your loved one may need care, such as memory loss and depression.
Cuts, bruises, and burns are the most obvious forms of physical injury that one can spot. However, it is possible that other such wounds might not be visible without further examination. You can quickly check for injuries when helping them to change their clothes or bathe. Encourage your loved one to see a doctor for treatment and a checkup; if they resist, emphasize that this is for their own good and doing so would stop you worrying about them.
Is your family member forgetful and/or easily confused? Are they unable to find their way around the area without asking for help? Are they having great trouble making decisions? Do they not realize the time of day and call or visit you at inappropriate hours? Are they missing important appointments? Do they experience great mood swings?
If any of these signs are apparent, get your loved one to their general practitioner as soon as possible. The doctor may recommend treatment and follow-ups, including physical and cognitive tests, and mental health therapy.
Should the consensus be that the person can no longer live on their own without assistance, this does not necessarily mean a managed care facility. Right at Home’s professional caregivers provide the type of in-home assistance that can allow your loved one to continue living where they please. We thoroughly interview the client, analyze their living conditions, and create a treatment plan that ensures safety and healthy living.
Contact Right at Home today to learn more about how we accomplish our mission of “Adding Life to Years.”