Although it’s difficult to sometimes recognize, the importance of identifying changes in physical and cognitive abilities that can occur with age is important. For older adults and their family members, friends, and caregivers, it’s important to closely monitor and identify signals that may mean it’s time for professional home care. To help determine when an older adult needs assistance in the home, following are a list of 10 warning signs. Any one of the following behaviors may indicate the need to react and seek out help. The older person’s doctor should also be informed so that they can assist in making the necessary adjustments to medication and monitoring their health and wellness plan as time moves forward.
- Eating habits may change resulting in weight loss, appetite loss, or missed meals
- Neglecting personal hygiene, including clothing, body odor, oral health, nails, and skin
- 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
- Neglecting the home, with a noticeable change in tidiness and/or sanitation
- Decreasing or stopping participation in activities that were once enjoyable, such as a bridge or book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services
- Showing unusual confusion or 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 out-of-the-ordinary purchases, such as more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements
- Injuries, such as burns, which may have resulted from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or medication
When a senior needs help, sometimes simple changes can make a big improvement. Some of these indicators are directly related to a medical condition or can be fixed by a change in medication. Making deliberate decisions and keeping ahead of a potential crisis are easier on everyone when you begin to notice signs a senior needs help.
Finally, keep in mind that family members and friends often see the changes in the way an elder person acts, thinks, and responds to situations around them and too often dismiss them until one of two things happen. Either you begin to spend so much time helping the senior yourself that you have little time for your own responsibilities or the senior experiences a physical or medical crisis. Both of these can result in undue stress for you and the senior. When it’s time, a home care provider can be a solid solution for both the caregiver and the elderly person.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Princeton Junction, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.