It can be difficult for families to keep track of their aging loved ones’ health, especially if they live far away. Sometimes, the holiday season is their only chance to identify any signs that their senior loved one needs assistance. Here are a few signs to look for during your holiday visit with an aging parent.
7 Signs a Senior Family Member Needs Help
Trouble Maintaining Personal Hygiene
One thing to assess during your visit is your loved one’s hygiene.
- Are they combing their hair and brushing their teeth?
- Do you notice any foul body odor?
- Are they wearing clean clothes?
If your loved one is having trouble maintaining their personal hygiene, it may indicate that they need help.
Neglecting Everyday Household Chores
Another key indicator that you may need to find care for your elderly parents is if they neglect their chores. Check the following during your next visit:
- Are dirty dishes piling up in the sink?
- Is there a mountain of laundry that needs to be washed and put away?
- Are the trash cans overflowing?
If your loved one is struggling to keep up with household chores, it could mean they need assistance.
Losing or Gaining Weight
Many older adults struggle to meet their nutritional requirements, causing their weight to fluctuate. If your loved one has visibly lost or gained weight, it may mean that they are struggling to eat nutrient-dense foods. This can be for a variety of reasons. A few common ones include:
- Trouble getting to and from the store due to transportation limitations.
- Difficulty cooking their own meals.
- Taking medications that affect their appetite.
Another reason their weight can fluctuate is if they are not exercising enough. With age often comes reduced mobility, making it more difficult to move. Ask your loved one if they experience pain when they move.
Any of these reasons for weight fluctuation can mean your loved ones need assistance. Do your best to identify why they are gaining or losing weight.
Mobility challenges are common among older adults. This can make it incredibly difficult for them to move around the house.
To find out if your loved one is having mobility issues, keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Are they having trouble getting in and out of their chair?
- Are they walking considerably slower?
- Can they easily close and open doors?
Mobility issues are particularly dangerous because they can lead to falls. If your aging parent shows any of these signs, they may benefit from assistance.
Keeping up with Finances
Many older adults struggle to keep up with their expenses. It’s not always because they can’t afford them; sometimes they just forget.
A few hints that may indicate your loved one is having trouble paying their bills on time include:
- Final notice letters.
- Shut off utilities.
- Calls from the bank.
Failure to keep up with expenses could indicate that it’s time to start looking for someone who can help them manage their money.
It’s common for older adults to become isolated.
Sometimes it’s because they have difficulty getting out and interacting with other people. For example, seniors with limited transportation can struggle to find ways to visit friends and run errands.
Other times they are isolated by choice. Does your loved one lack interest in socializing with friends and family during holiday festivities? This could be a key indicator of mental health problems like depression.
If your loved one is isolated, it may be time
Low energy could be a sign that your senior loved one needs assistance. Low energy can be related to an underlying medical condition or the medication(s) they are taking.
During your visit monitor their behavior.
- Are they sleeping?
- Are they eating well?
- How is their attitude? Are they less enthusiastic than they were last year?
Don’t forget that the holiday season can be causing them to have less energy. After all, it is the busiest time of the year.
When a Senior Family Member Needs Assistance
If you have a senior in your family who you think would benefit from assistance, our senior care advisors would love to help you navigate the maze of senior care options.
Call 800-304-8061 to take advantage of our complimentary guidance.
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