You’re probably surprised to see something so subtle at the top of the list, but simply keeping a watchful eye on your loved one is one of the best ways to spot if there’s been disadvantageous changes to their self-care.
Has a previously well-dressed senior taken to no longer dressing well? It’s possible they can no longer manage their personal appearance to the level they’d prefer, or it could even be a sign of mood disorders like depression, or cognitive issues like dementia. Have personal care and hygiene slipped? This will always be a worrisome sign that it may be time for some external assistance to stay safe and healthy. Excessive weight loss in the elderly, while it may be linked to health issues, is also a common sign that they are no longer preparing healthy and nutritious meals at home, or are having problems eating. Likewise, you may spot neglect among pets.
In short, any drastic change for the worse you notice in your loved one or their surroundings should immediately be noted, and the causes investigated. All the issues we mentioned above can easily be addressed with in-home care without the senior having to give up their home or change their lifestyle significantly.
Inability to maintain day-to-day tasks
Loss of independence is, perhaps, one of the hardest things for many seniors to accept as they age, so don’t expect to hear much about this from your special person themselves. After all, humans are proud creatures! We mentioned three key areas above- personal hygiene, grooming and cooking- that often slip among the elderly due not to mood, but limited physical capability, but they are far from the only issues you may spot.
Is a previously meticulous home now dirty, or the garden overrun because they can no longer manage the lawnmower? Are day-to-day tasks going undone, with a convenient excuse why every time? Does laundry no longer get hung on the line? Did your loved one used to exercise regularly, but now doesn’t budge from the couch? Are bills going unpaid? These are all clues that your senior could be experiencing care issues they aren’t yet comfortable raising with you.
One of the most appealing things about home care is that it will enable your family member to stay independent and in their home for far longer than they may otherwise have been able to, without compromising on a safe and healthy environment for them.
Physical or mental problems
Have you noticed your senior slowing down a lot? While we naturally do slow down with age, a noticeable drop in the ease and way they move can be a key indicator that they need some caring assistance to keep quality of life high.
Likewise, new physical issues, whether drastic or subtle, may indicate it’s time for a helping hand. With an acceleration in issues like arthritis and even B12-related anaemia in the elderly, you may notice issues like tripping or feeling dizzy are becoming common. These can be clear warning signs that may lead to more drastic issues, like falling. Not only are seniors at greater risk of fractures than any other demographic, the setback of a knee- or hip-fracture could be a turning point for the worse in their mobility and their longevity, so the more you can do to avoid this the better.
Of course, cognitive decline can also be a key worry with the elderly. From classic signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, to the effects of forgotten medication, right through to a more general forgetfulness that could lead to a pot burning on the stove or the electricity bill not being paid, cognitive issues can be problematic. it’s important that growing mental issues or comprehension issues are tackled as skillfully as possible. In-home care offers a way to keep tabs on your senior and ensure basic tasks are not being forgotten. As both vitamin deficiencies from a poor diet and forgetfulness towards chronic medication can have huge impacts on the senior’s life, it’s also a fantastic way to make sure this key self-care is not being neglected.
Accidents are increasing
We all have our off days where things go wrong. One bad day may not be a legitimate cause for concern. However, if you notice your loved one has difficulties getting up from a seated position, or has had many falls or driving accidents lately, it’s time to reevaluate their current daily pattern. It’s important to watch out for key signs like bruising and fractures in the elderly, too, as they may not always be willing to admit their struggles outright.
There are many levels of in-home care open to your senior, and it can easily be tailored to suit their needs. Someone who merely needs a little assistance with meal prep does not need the same level of care as someone who will need 24/7 care at home. It’s perfectly possible to structure a care package that keeps your loved one safe at home, but enables them the dignity and personal care level they need to stay both happy and healthy throughout old age.
Still not sure if your loved one would benefit from home care? Perhaps you have other questions you’d like to raise? The team from PAI Homecare are here to help you, so don’t hesitate to reach out today.