The majority of seniors prefer to age in place. The comfort and familiarity of home and its proximity to close friends and neighbors give most elderly individuals the desire to remain there. But certain warning signs indicate that an elderly loved one can no longer live alone.
Families are encouraged to look at the aging person’s abilities to function independently at home. Concerned relatives should also take into consideration the senior’s health, happiness, and medical needs. Here are nine telltale signs that the senior requires assistance at home.
1. Unkempt Home
Some older adults have always maintained an immaculate living space. Other aging people are simply not as picky about their home’s tidiness. When a characteristically neat senior starts to neglect the condition of the home, it is a warning sign that family members should heed.
Cognitive decline or a lack of physical ability can lead to an accumulation of trash around the home, spills left uncleaned, dishes piled up in the kitchen sink, spoiled food in the refrigerator, laundry left undone or an increase of bathroom filth.
An onset of dementia can also cause a senior to place household items in strange places. The aging adult might place a purse in the refrigerator, for instance. Family members who find oddities like this should be aware that it is unsafe for the senior to live alone.
2. Medication Mismanagement
Family members who look inside a senior’s medicine cabinet might find a surplus of unnecessary medications. Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia may haphazardly gather excess over-the-counter drugs in attempts to treat symptoms unrelated to the real problem.
Furthermore, relatives should be aware of full pill bottles, especially when the senior is required to take medications on a daily basis. Unused pills could suggest that the senior forgets to take the prescribed medications—a serious issue that can adversely affect health.
3. Unexplained Weight Loss
Seniors who exercise are usually fit. But when an aging loved one starts to shed pounds for no clear reason, it could signal the start of cognitive decline. Memory issues that result from Alzheimer’s disease cause individuals to forget to eat meals or cook, leading to weight loss.
Seniors whose weight unexplainably drops may be ill without realizing it. Or, a reduced appetite can be the result of clinical depression. Some older adults are no longer able to use the kitchen safely, leading to drastic changes in weight.
4. Lack of Personal Hygiene
Family members may notice a lack of personal hygiene upon seeing the senior. Elder care intervention is required when the elderly relative stops showering or brushing his teeth. The senior may stop performing hygiene tasks due to cognitive decline or physical impairments.
A senior who feels unsafe in the shower or has physical difficulty entering and exiting the bathtub, for example, may refuse to bathe. Clinical depression can also leave a senior unmotivated. Some elderly individuals forget to engage in personal hygiene tasks without realizing it.
5. Heaps of Unopened Mail
Piles of unopened bills could be an indication of cognitive impairment. While forgetting to pay a few bills is normal, failing to pay multiple bills is a telltale sign that the senior is no longer able to manage daily household affairs.
6. Getting Lost
People are expected to get lost when traveling to unfamiliar destinations. But when an elderly loved one becomes lost during routine trips to the local grocery store or post office, memory issues could be the culprit. It is no longer safe for the senior to navigate on his own.
7. Communication Challenges
During phone conversations with the senior, frustration and confusion can ensue. When the older individual has trouble communicating, dementia could be a reason. Dementia affects a person’s thinking, language, and memory skills. Struggling with comprehension can lead to serious issues.
The senior may misinterpret important medical instructions given by a doctor, for example. Plus, fraudsters commonly target the elder population; problems with communication could lead to an older adult becoming prey to telephone scam artists. Support at home should be an immediate consideration.
8. Reluctance to Drive
A senior who once loved to drive and is now reluctant to do so may have developed a mental or physical challenge. A range of health problems can cause a senior to fear driving. Memory issues, eye problems and muscular skeletal issues could make him a danger behind the wheel.
Combativeness and suspicion are symptoms of dementia. Even family members can be victims of a dementia patient’s aggressive outbursts. Seniors with progressive brain conditions are no longer able to distinguish friends from foes and are safer with constant in-home supervision.
Dependable, compassionate senior care from Assisting Hands Home Care is the solution for families who realize an elderly loved one needs support at home. Our professional caregivers provide a range of services that meet the nonmedical needs of seniors at all levels of physical and cognitive abilities.
Caregivers tend to the daily needs of seniors. We maintain a clean home environment, ensure the senior takes the right medications, prepare nutritious meals, and discreetly assist with personal hygiene tasks. Our elder care services include transportation and grocery shopping, too.
Families are encouraged to discuss the living situation with the elderly loved one. When it is in the best interests of the senior to no longer live alone, Assisting Hands Home Care can step in with 24-hour home care, live-in care, hospice care, respite care, after-surgery care or dementia care.
Assisting Hands Home Care is trusted by countless families and the seniors in their lives. Our professional caregivers are trained, certified, licensed, insured and bonded. An onsite evaluation begins the home care process. We’ll develop a flexible care plan to meet your loved one’s care needs.
Families with seniors living in Matteson, Mokena, and Frankfort, Illinois benefit from the comprehensive elderly home care services provided by Assisting Hands Home Care. Our elder care recipients continue to live fulfilling lives with the in-home support provided by our dedicated team of caregivers. Call us at (708) 880-7711 to schedule a free consult.