Did you know that 52% of people turning age 65 will require some long-term care services at some point in their lives?
As your loved one’s age, it is important to be more conscious about their well being. As the days go by, they may be less and less able to take care of themselves.
In this article, we shall look at some signs to look for to determine whether your loved one needs assisted care.
1. Deteriorating Health
There are high chances a senior will have a chronic disease that may require constant attention.
Three in four Americans aged 65 and older have multiple chronic conditions. In this state, they need to be around someone who can take care of them.
At times, even simple illnesses such as a common cold can signify the need for assistance. If it takes too long for your loved one to recover from such conditions, they may require to be under close supervision.
You must also watch out for deteriorating cognitive abilities. Dementia can lead to poor memory, paranoia, or difficulties in communicating.
Your loved one may forget to take necessary medication. They may even be unable to find their way around places they have lived in for decades.
Weird behaviors such as wearing winter clothing during warm weather are indications of cognitive dissonance.
2. Hygiene Challenges
Be on the lookout for changes in hygiene standards when dealing with the elderly.
Often, personal care is the first thing to be neglected when someone is unable to take care of themselves. You may notice body odor, ungroomed hair and dirty clothes.
You may also notice a dirty house. Keep an eye out for cobwebs, thick dust, spills, stains, and bathroom mold. Ensure that you check their bathroom. Most of the times they may try to clean the guest bathroom.
3. Physical Condition
How are they physically? Have you noticed any changes? Frailty is the most unambiguous physical change that indicates they may need to be taken care of. As a person becomes frail, you will notice the following:
- Reduced strength
- Stature may become more bent
- Issues with stability and balance
Try to compare their physical condition with the last time you met them. Generous hugs will also help you notice some of these changes.
How are their clothes? Are they more loosely fitting?
A loss of weight can be attributed to more alarming issues. It might be a sign of another underlying problem such as cancer, depression or poor feeding habits.
On the other hand, an increase in weight for an older adult is also not necessarily good. It can be triggered by other issues such as diabetes and diets from packaged food due to financial constraints.
Dementia can also play a role; they may keep forgetting that they ate and keep snacking all day.
4. Changes in Social Life
Social circles reduce as a person ages. However, sudden changes or complete detachment from social life is not healthy. Be keen to notice such changes.
There is often a problem when a loved one starts missing their regular visits to friends and neighbors or when they stop participating in religious or community events they like.
Abandoning hobbies and spending days without leaving the house are clear warning signs. This isolation is life-threatening. Heart diseases and depression are associated with lack of companionship among older adults.
In such cases, it is important to consider assisted living or home care. However, you must keep in mind that it is not easy for an elderly person to leave the comfort of their home or to trust a complete stranger to take care of them.
Therefore, broach the subject with sensitivity and be empathetic. You do not have to start the conversation alone; talk to friends and family. Institutions such as Families Choice Home Care can also provide you with support.
5. Financial Challenges
Your loved one’s challenges may all stem from financial constraints. Their savings may be running out, and they may be unable to afford medication and a proper diet. Check their mail to see if there any letters from banks, insurers or creditors.
If they do not have financial issues, you should find out if they have problems managing their finances. Unopened mail from creditors may be reminders of late payments. This could be caused by dementia.
You should also check for large withdrawals and letters from charities. Older people are usually more gullible and susceptible to become victims of scammers.
6. Inability to Perform Tasks Crucial for Independent Living
For someone to live alone comfortably, they must be able to perform some tasks for themselves.
Driving is one such task. You may notice signs of reckless driving and slow reactions to other cars and confusion between gas and brake pedals. They may forget to check traffic lights or refuel their vehicle.
In subtle instances, the person may become tense or easily distracted while driving. You will notice that they seem unwilling to talk while driving and may also turn off the radio.
Some will even avoid driving in specific routes, weather conditions or at night. Taking such precautions is good, but it is a sign of changes that need to be addressed.
Cooking may also become a challenge for older people. Burn marks on the hands and stove are clear indications. This may be the reason why they are not eating well.
7. Home Maintenance Challenges Might Indicate the Need for Assisted Care
How is their compound? Does it make the house look abandoned? As with personal care, maintaining the house in top condition is difficult for people who need to be taken care of.
Check if the grass needs to be trimmed, dirty windows and unraked leaves to know if your loved one might need some help.
At times, they may even be unable to take care of their beloved pet or plants. Plants that were evergreen and vibrant may now look dry, brown and dying.
With pets, you will notice litter boxes that are unattended to, overfeeding, poor grooming, underfeeding or even a dead fish in the tank.
How Can You Best Care for Your Loved One?
It is normal for the elderly to exhibit one or more of the above signs as they continue to age.
Life can be difficult for an old person. However, with assisted care, your loved one can lead a less stressful life. This is especially so for people with dementia. Check out this article to learn how to prevent dementia naturally.