Each year around the holidays I like to offer a friendly reminder to you about noticing the needs of your senior loved ones when you gather for holiday celebrations. After all, a lot can happen in a year and if you don’t see them very often, you may be surprised by what you discover.
If your senior loved ones are anything like my Aunt Myrtle, all you have to do is ask them how they’ve been or how they are doing, and they’ll definitely tell you!
If they don’t usually complain about anything and keep silent during family gatherings, you may need to proactively pay attention to 12 key indicators of senior needs and have a private conversation with them to better understand how they are really doing.
Even subtle changes could be indicative of a senior in need of assistance. One of my resources, aPlaceforMom, has compiled a comprehensive list of scenarios that could be indicative of a senior with specific needs.
- Financial woes. If your senior loved one is keeping up with their bills and making payments on time, no red flags here. However, if checks are bouncing and collectors are calling, this is a serious reason for concern.
- Home maintenance issues. If your senior loved one has stopped cooking or maintaining a regular meal schedule because their kitchen appliances don’t work or are in poor condition, there may be a reason for concern. It’s important to check appliances, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as light bulbs when visiting to make sure things are operating as they should. Furthermore, if a cluttered, dirty, or disorganized house and an unattended yard are not the norms for your beloved senior, a caregiver can help with homemaker services and oversee service providers, like a lawn service.
- Mood swings. Changes in mood or extreme mood swingsmay signal something is wrong. Does your special senior someone behave differently toward you, friends, or even strangers? Noticeable mood swings could be a result of personal problems, physical challenges, medications or something else. A visit to their doctor is probably warranted.
- Mental health issues. We’ve all had those days when we don’t feel especially upbeat, but if a senior is demonstrating feelings of depression or lacks energy for activities of daily living, talk to them and see if they need to consider professional help. Ask yourself: Has your senior loved one’s demeanor noticeably changed? Do they smile or laugh like they used to?
- Confusion and uncertainty. If you notice your senior loved one is experiencing confusion or uncertainty when performing specific tasks that used to be second nature to them, this can be a red flag of a senior in need of help. Caregivers provide companion care to keep seniors company when they live alone, keep them engaged in meaningful conversation, and keep them socially active, as much as possible.
- Appearance matters. Pay attention to how your senior loved one is dressing and their overall personal hygiene. If their clothing is dirty, shows extensive wear, or is in disrepair; or they have bad breath and body odor, they may need some level of personal care assistance.
- Notice weight loss. When you gather with senior loved ones, take notice of weight loss and their appetite. Are they consuming less at mealtime? Observe their overall eating habits in case they are neglecting nutritional foods for sweets, processed foods, fast foods or snacks. A compassionate caregiver can help with grocery shopping, as well as nutritional meal planning and preparation to make sure they get the valuable nutrition they need.
- Frequent forgetfulness. If you notice your senior loved one is more forgetful than normal, or they are misplacing their keys, wallet, or other important items more frequently, it may be time for a medical consultation and in-home care services to keep items better organized and prevent missed appointments or medications.
- Medication management. Improper medication management can lead to all kinds of problems.Are there full prescription bottles in the medicine cabinet? A daily pill organizer for morning and evening medications can help prevent medication mismanagement, so your senior loved one does not take too much or too little of their meds. An in-home caregiver can assist with gentle reminders to keep seniors on schedule with their medications.
- Social isolation. Is your senior loved one staying isolated more and more, or have they lost interest in activities and hobbies they once enjoyed? There may be physical or mental health issues to address. A Home Helpers® caregiver can provide opportunities for engagement and socialization by getting them out of the house for better physical and mental health and a higher quality of life.
- Physical limitations. If you notice your senior loved one is having difficulties standing from a seated position; or they struggle to walk or sit, they may need some help with activities of daily living, or ambulation devices for better stabilization when walking, and support when sitting, or standing. Additionally, if you notice injuries like bruising, cuts, or scratches, it’s worth investigating the cause. A Home Helpers® compassionate caregiver can always provide a helping hand!
- Accidents happen. Take a peek at your senior loved one’s vehicle. If you see dents and car damage that have gone unexplained, it is best to discuss their accident history and determine why auto accidents are happening. If they are experiencing visual impairment, diminished hearing, or are more distracted and simply not paying attention, the time may have arrived to discuss their retirement from driving. A caregiver, public transportation, or a ride-share service can certainly be of service.
A perfectly matched caregiver can assist with almost all of these needs and more to keep your special senior someone happy, healthy, safe, and independent. If any of these care services would be of benefit to you or your senior loved one, I gladly offer a FREE Consultation to identify and discuss the specific needs and create a personalized care plan to help make life a little easier for you or your senior loved one.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2016-2022 and the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2022. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ (727)942-2539