As we age, we change. We move a little slower. We take our time in our actions and thoughts. Our interests may even change. We may pick up new hobbies or interests based on our physical and mental abilities. We also try to eat better, be active and remain social.
These can be seen as natural and expected and we are typically prepared for and recognize these signs. As family members watch their loved ones age, there are often other signs that we fail to detect. These are signs that show that your loved one may need assistance in order to maintain their current lifestyle. These are signs of behaviors that indicate that you need to take action and make arrangements for home care.
- A change in eating habits: losing weight, no appetite, missing meals
- Neglecting personal hygiene: body odor, bad breath, skin sores, dirty nails and teeth, wearing dirty clothes
- Neglecting their home: cleanliness and sanitation issues, hoarding, not maintaining upkeep
- Inappropriate behavior: unusually load or quiet, paranoia, agitated or mad, making excessive phone calls
- A change in relationship patterns: friends and neighbors showing concern or offering help
- Physical problems: burns or injuries from weakness or forgetfulness, misuse of alcohol or prescription medications
- A change in activities: decreasing or stopping hobbies or important activities like bridge or book club, attending religious services or meeting with friends
- Forgetfulness: unopened mail, piles of newspapers, missing appointments or not renewing medications
- Mishandled finances: unpaid bills, paying bills twice, hiding money, losing money
- Unusual purchases: multiple subscriptions to same magazine, entering lots of contests, an increase in purchases from TV ads
These are ten warning signs that your older family member may need help. Try and pay attention to the routines and habits of your family members and reach out and touch base to stay in the loop. Talk to their neighbors and friends if possible. Maintain access to their finances and bills.
Communicating with your elderly loved one in advance can help ease the stress for both of you. Discuss their wishes and your concerns. Consider tools to address financial and medical decisions like durable power of attorney or living wills and advance directives. Proper preparation can help both of you to be ready for the changes that old age bring.
Traxx Mobility Systems manufactures a overhead patient lift for those with limited mobility who choose to stay in their home and “Age in Place.” Our unique freestanding system fits in the bedroom, does not attach to the home and allows a single caregiver to transfer a patient in and out of bed without fear of injury.