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Notice the Needs and Warning Signs of Seniors Requiring Support and Assistance

December is a month when the Home Helpers corporate theme focuses on families “Noticing the Needs” of their senior loved ones to determine if they could benefit from some help with activities of daily living to improve their overall quality of life.

Every senior I have ever known has wanted to remain independent in their home for as long as possible, so the signs of need may not be obvious, as seniors typically do their best to hide their vulnerabilities. This makes it even more important for family members to closely observe their loved one’s appearance, behaviors, and cognitive abilities to determine if they are actually capable of adequately caring for themselves independently.

AgingCare has compiled a list of warning signs to look for when you spend time with seniors over the holidays and into the New Year to help make noticing the needs easier.

Difficulty with Activities of Daily Living

  • Bathing and grooming
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Walking and transferring from sitting to standing
  • Eating and Drinking

Changes in Physical Function and Appearance

  • Noticeable weight loss due to poor nutrition, or difficulty shopping for food, cooking, eating, etc.
  • Wearing soiled clothing or dressing inappropriately for the season/weather due to difficulties dressing
  • Poor personal hygiene and unpleasant body odor as a result of infrequent showering or bathing
  • Unkempt hair, untrimmed nails, or poor oral hygiene indicating a decline in grooming habits and personal care
  • Bruises, wounds, or other marks on the body that could indicate falls or changes in mobility
  • Burns on the skin could indicate a senior is experiencing difficulties cooking meals

Changes in Behavior and Mental Status

  • Lack of drive or motivation
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Difficulty keeping track of time
  • Failure to return phone calls to friends and family members
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Increased agitation
  • Verbally or physically abusive behaviors
  • Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or hypersomnia)

Neglecting Household Responsibilities

  • Inability to independently complete activities of daily living
  • Changes in household cleanliness and organization
  • Extreme clutter or evidence of hoarding
  • Stacks of unopened mail, late payment notices or bounced checks
  • Unpaid bills, calls from collection agencies, or utilities being disconnected
  • Spoiled food that is not thrown away
  • Little or no fresh, healthy food or overall low food supply
  • Stained or wet furniture or carpet
  • Urine odor in the house, which may indicate incontinence
  • Cookware or appliances with noticeable burn marks could indicate food has been left unattended while cooking or reheating
  • Failure to maintain outdoor areas with landscaping, snow removal, and trash collection
  • Signs of unsafe driving (automobile accidents, dents, and scratches)
  • Unfilled prescriptions

Changes in Cognition, Memory, and Judgement

  • Forgetfulness, like forgetting to take medications or taking incorrect dosages, missing appointments, misplacing items, etc.
  • Increased confusion
  • Loss of reasoning skills
  • Consistent use of poor judgment (i.e., falling for scams or sales pitches, giving away money)
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Frequently getting lost when walking or driving
  • Repetitive speech patterns
  • Inability to complete sentences
  • Impaired word-finding ability
  • Changes in personality or behavior
  • Poor personal hygiene and/or wearing the same clothes over and over
  • Inability to recall names of familiar people, objects, or places

When you are spending time with senior loved ones this holiday season and beyond, please take time to review this comprehensive list of warning signs that they may require some level of support and assistance to improve their quality of life.

Home Helpers® makes life easier for seniors over the holidays and year-round. I’m happy to offer a FREE Assessment to discuss specific needs, after which I will review the in-home care services we provide. That way, I can create a custom-tailored Cared-4℠ plan to assist your senior loved one with activities of daily living, improve their overall quality of life, and preserve their senior independence for as long as possible.

Home Helpers® Bourbonnais/Kankakee/Frankfort proudly serves male and female seniors in Beecher, Bourbonnais, Bradley, Dwight, Frankfort, Kankakee, Manteno, Mokena, New Lenox, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Tinley Park, Watseka, Wilmington, and surrounding areas. Contact me today to learn more about the many services offered through Home Helpers® - We are Making Life Easier℠ for you and yours! 815.427.4238