When Becky’s sister asked how their mother was “really doing” after a whirlwind weekend of relatives in town, a bridal shower and a milestone birthday celebration, she was told, “Okay.” But was she?
The Ten Warning Signs Your Older Family Member May Need Help posted on the website of eldercare.gov, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, is a checklist to truly reflect on how a loved one is doing. According to eldercare.gov, any one of these ten signs should be considered that your aging loved one may need some assistance in the home.
- Changing eating habits, resulting in weight loss, appetite loss, or missed meals.
- Neglecting personal hygiene, including clothing, body odor, oral health, nails and skin.
- Neglecting the home, with a noticeable change in tidiness.
- Exhibiting inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at unusual hours.
- Changing relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concern.
- Showing physical injuries, such as burns, which may have resulted from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or medication.
- Decreasing or stopping participation in activities that were once enjoyable, such as bridge or book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services.
- Exhibiting forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, newspaper piles, unfilled prescriptions, or missed appointments.
- Mishandling finances, such as not paying bills or paying them more than once and losing or hiding money.
- Making unusual purchases, such as more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements.
Children and friends of aging loved ones need to continue to be vigilant and consider options for when they can’t live independently.
When you socialize with loved ones, particularly if you don’t see each other regularly, it is a good time to observe. You may notice subtle changes. Mom seems a little distracted. Dad looks like he lost some weight that he couldn’t afford to lose. A favorite aunt whose house is usually spotless, looks a little disheveled.
If so, assisted living may be an option. It’s the perfect alternative for seniors who can no longer live on their own, yet don’t require 24-hour, complex medical supervision. Assisted living services offer a balance between compassionate care and the maximum freedom possible, all within the safety of a campus. Plus, assisted living with its multiple activities keeps seniors active and connected with others their age for fun and companionship.