As adults, we get used to being independent and caring for ourselves, but as we age, this can become more and more difficult. Aging can lead to decline in strength, reflexes, eyesight, mental acuity, and all kinds of other areas. In short, we may not be able to care for ourselves as we once did.
This can be a hard pill to swallow. Many seniors want to remain independent, and they don’t want to be a burden to loved ones. As a result, they may not express their needs or concerns to family members or friends.
This leaves it up to loved ones to watch for signs that elderly relatives may need help. How can you tell, and what should you do to help the seniors in your life? Here’s what you need to know.
Signs a Senior May Need Help
There are several signs that a senior in your life might need help at home. Often, the most notable signs are physical. Weight loss could mean that a person is ill or is not eating properly, and you’re sure to notice if a loved one is suffering mobility issues, such as trouble walking or standing from a seated position.
Visible bruising, signifying falls or bumping into things, could also be a sign of declining physical fitness, and you’ll want to keep an eye on personal hygiene and the cleanliness of the home environment. Check the fridge regularly to see if there’s food in it, and if the food is fresh. Note if there are stacks of unopened mail, or the mailbox is overflowing. Don’t forget to inspect the car for new dents and scratches that could indicate issues with reflexes or vision.
You can also look for signs of waning mental function, such as forgetfulness, missed appointments, utilities being turned off, and trouble keeping track of time. Is the senior in your life suddenly exhibiting poor judgment or habits, or does he/she seem to have trouble performing even familiar tasks? These could be signs of normal mental decline or something more serious.
Emotional issues are also a warning sign that your loved one may need help. If a senior seems withdrawn, loses interest in activities he/she once enjoyed, and spends significantly more time sleeping, this could be a sign of loneliness and depression.
Options for Care
Many people assume that when a senior needs help, an assisted living facility is the answer, but this isn’t necessarily the case. The natural aging process may render them less able to care for themselves, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they need to leave their home.
The good news is, there are in-home care options. Perhaps your elderly loved one just needs a caregiver to do light housekeeping, prepare and cook meals, run errands, and act as chauffer. Some seniors long for companionship, and a caregiver often fills this role, as well.
If more is needed, such as medical care, there are nurses who work in home settings, making sure seniors take needed medication, eat nutritious meals, and follow prescribed regimens like exercise. They could also help with grooming tasks like bathing that seniors may not be able to do on their own. With a proper caregiver, seniors can get the help they need and stay in the home they love.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.