During the holiday season, we’ll have to opportunity to see some of our elderly family members we seldom see the rest of the year. It’s important that when we have the opportunity to see our senior relatives or visit their homes, we know the signs that could indicate it’s time to talk about bringing in a caregiver to provide for their health and safety. While many of the indications are inside of our loved ones’ houses, even if we only see them this holiday season outside of their homes there are still some warning signs to look out for. Here are four ways we might determine our loved ones are in need of assistance in the home:
- Personal appearance is a major indicator of how well our elder family members are doing on their own. Disheveled or dirty clothing or poor hygiene can mean they’re struggling to take care of basic household and personal tasks.
- Bruises they can’t explain, a confused or depressed temperament, or significant weight loss since the last time we’ve seen them might suggest deteriorating physical or mental health or the inability to provide for their own basic needs.
- At home a neglected yard or general uncleanliness and clutter inside the house could indicate difficulty in managing day-to-day life. A buildup of unopened mail or bills or spoiled and expired groceries in the fridge might mean our loved ones are having trouble getting out of the house to shop for food or notice the need for exterior maintenance.
- With our relatives who we are able to see more often, extreme mood swings or personality changes, loss of interest in social and recreational activities, or forgetting appointments could suggest compromised cognitive ability or simply unhappiness that stems from decreased quality of life.
Often our senior loved ones won’t ask for assistance at home because they’re in denial about their deteriorating health or may even have an illness that makes them unaware that their lives are becoming unmanageable. Even if they fully understand their increasing need for help, they may be reluctant to reveal it because they’re worried about losing their independence and perhaps even being removed from their homes. Because health issues can escalate quickly and accidents become increasingly more likely with age, it’s crucial we take note of any of these signs or any other behavior that is out of character for our older family members and discuss in-home care sooner rather than later.