Signs Your Loved One Needs Help
Families and children of seniors may have a difficult time determining if their parents need additional help. Elders may be reluctant to share their daily struggles with their children and/or families because they are embarrassed or feel they may be a burden. In other cases, seniors may not even realize they are struggling. If a parent or loved one is suffering from dementia or depression, they may be overlooking important business matters or fall prey to financial scams.
If you are concerned that a loved one may be having issues, but you know they are not ready to move into a care facility, you may wish to consider using the respected services of a Senior’s Choice member in your area.
Children of senior parents and who suspect they could use some additional help should keep a look out for the following signs:
- The next time you are visiting with parents, observe the condition of their home. While casual clutter may be a sign of a perfectly happy home, dust and dirt may signal a bigger problem. Dusty areas may mean cleaning is a challenge. Are there other unclean areas of the home, like floors, stairways, and old spills? These factors may indicate that your parents need help around the house.
- Peek in the refrigerator and check the condition of the food. Has anything spoiled? Is the home lacking in groceries? A neglected refrigerator may indicate a variety of problems. Your senior parents may have a tough time cleaning it out, they may be having difficulty getting to the grocery store or carrying groceries inside, or loss of short-term memory may be causing these issues.
- Check the mail. Unpaid bills and a buildup of junk mail may be a sign your senior parents are overwhelmed, or forgetting to take care of household administrative tasks. If your parents are suffering from dementia, it may mean they are forgetting to take care of important business. Caregivers can help organize and keep track of mail. If you are concerned about outsiders helping with personal finances, let the caregivers handle other tasks, allowing your parents to feel less overwhelmed. If someone else is handling grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments, your senior parents might remember to pay the electric bill.
- Have a look under the sinks and in medicine cabinets. Ensuring your senior parents can read labels of household products and medications, and ensuring they are taking necessary medications is an important part of protecting their safety and keeping them healthy. If your senior parents are unable to handle health issues such as these, they probably need support on a daily basis.
- Observe your parent’s appearance. Are they having a difficult time keeping up with personal hygiene? Do you often see them in the same outfit? This may mean doing laundry is a difficult task, or it may mean they are neglecting their personal appearance and hygiene. They may also be concerned about their safety while bathing or showering. Falling, or the fear of falling, often leads to loss of confidence, imposed isolation, and immobility. Speak to them about their concerns and determine the cause of the problem. This can help the two of you best solve the problem.
- Speak with your parent’s neighbors and friends about their habits and daily routines. Find out if things seem to be in order or if they have noticed changes in schedules or long periods of time spent alone in their home. Seniors need companionship. If they are depressed, they may be spending more time at home, away from people.
- If you suspect your senior parents may be suffering from dementia or memory loss, have a look at the bottom of their pots and pans. If the bottoms are burned, it may indicate that tasks like heating things on the stove are going unsupervised during bouts of dementia. This can be dangerous and you should take action as soon as possible to get your parent the help they need.
- Have your senior parents missed doctor’s appointments recently? This may indicate they do not have appropriate transportation, they may not be willing to face impending health problems, or they may be suffering from memory loss and have forgotten the appointments. One of the most common ways a caregiver helps seniors is ensuring that they get to their doctor’s appointments.
- Have you received phone calls from your senior parents at unusual hours? This may indicate that they are confused or lonely. It may be a way for them to tell you there may be a problem like depression, even if they are unwilling to say it outright. A visit from a caregiver can help them with confusion and provide companionship, as can participating in activities at a senior center or scheduling additional visits with family members.
- Are your senior parents showing signs of depression? As people age, they may feel lonely and isolated. Spouses, family members, and friends may suffer health problems or drift away. These life changes remind seniors of their own mortality, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Keeping your senior parents active can help ward off depression. Do not feel as if you have to handle this all on your own. A reputable In-Home Care agency offers the in-home support your parent needs.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with appropriate healthcare provider.