Physical and cognitive changes in seniors are sometimes difficult to interpret. At some point, you may begin wondering, “Is Mom forgetting to take care of herself and her home like she used to?” “Is Dad eating enough? His clothes look even looser than the last time I saw him.” The decline in a senior’s ability to properly care for themselves often happens gradually, making it more challenging for the people close to them to recognize it’s time to bring in outside help. If you’re beginning to think it’s time for senior care for your loved one, but you want to be sure before discussing it with them, here are five signs that can confirm you’re making the right decision.
Their personal hygiene is declining
One of the first signs an adult needs outside senior care is a noticeable decline in hygiene. You can tell they aren’t bathing as often as they always did, there is a noticeable body odor, their nails are being left unclipped and are dirty, etc. Declining hygiene is often due to physical or memory issues that make it difficult for them to stay clean.
Noticeable weight change
If your loved one has had a change in weight of 10% or more, they may be having difficulty preparing meals. Weight loss caused by a loss of appetite can also signify that a senior is depressed, often caused by isolation and loneliness.
Visit your senior during mealtime, if possible. Observe their ability to prepare a meal. Also, check and make sure the pantry is stocked and there isn’t food spoiling inside the fridge.
A senior’s physical and mental health can decline if they’re not taking the proper amount of medication or neglecting to take it at all. Check the expiration dates of your loved one’s meds and see if they’re organized in a weekly pillbox. If they’re not following the doctor’s instructions concerning taking their prescriptions, it may signify a deeper cognitive problem.
If your senior loved one is falling more often, there is cause for concern. Falling is the leading cause of disability for adults 65 and older and can be caused by cognitive problems, medication mismanagement, or physical weakness.
Look for bruises when you see your loved one and ask how they got there. They may not tell you about falls they’ve taken because of embarrassment, or they may not remember. Either way, it needs to be addressed immediately for their safety.
Confusion and problems with memory may indicate the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Medication mismanagement or the presence of an underlying medical condition can also cause confusion and forgetfulness. If they’re forgetting how to perform routine tasks, mishandling their finances, or getting lost, they likely need assistance at home.
Take action if you notice any of these signs with your loved one. Senior care should begin as early as possible. The longer they go without the care they need, the more likely their health will suffer.
If your loved one lives in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, Manhattan, Westchester, or the Port Washington area and you believe it’s time they begin receiving home care, or even if you’re still unsure, contact Elder Home Care today and schedule a FREE, no-obligation assessment. Put our experience and expertise to work for your loved one and your family.