Around 34.2 million individuals provided unpaid care to persons aged 50 or older during the last twelve months. As people age, the odds of a decline in physical or cognitive health and the ability to function independently steadily increase. Some people need help sooner because of a traumatic accident or illness. So, how do you know when it’s time to find some in-home care when it’s not glaringly obvious? Here are eight signs to look for:
1. Inability to Manage Self-Care
Common indications of lack of self-care include sloppy dressing, poor hygiene, and an unkempt appearance. Other things to look for:
- Is the home being kept up?
- Are the bills being paid?
- Are the lightbulbs working?
- Has your loved one stopped going out to buy groceries?
2. Significant Loss of Memory
Major memory loss goes beyond the occasional misplaced keys or disappearing remote and can result in the following:
- Repeatedly asking the same question.
- Getting lost in familiar places.
- Inability to follow instructions.
- Confusion about time, location, and well-known people.
3. Home Safety Issues
Does your loved one appear to be in danger when moving about the house or climbing stairs? Check for loose rugs, clutter, exposed electrical cords, and other issues that might cause a fall. Are they having problems with reaching dishware, tools, and other daily objects? Can they still read and follow instructions on medications and other labels?
4. Safe Driving Issues
If your senior is driving “white-knuckled” at 45 mph in a 65 mph zone, it’s a sign of problems. Diminished vision and hearing, slowed reflexes, and increasing confusion can all make driving more challenging. Also, notice if there are more dents and dings on the car or if your loved one has received warnings or tickets for driving mishaps.
5. Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss could indicate physical or mental health problems and could result from:
- Difficulty cooking. Your loved one may no longer have the desire or energy to cook. Or it may be more challenging to hold and manipulate utensils, read labels, or follow directions.
- Loss of smell and/or taste. Aging tends to cause diminishment of these senses. When food doesn’t smell or taste good, eating becomes less enjoyable.
- Socioeconomic issues. Your loved one might be eating less because of financial pressures restricting how much food they can afford.
- Health conditions. Weight loss can indicate serious underlying medical problems, e.g., depression, dementia, malnutrition, cancer.
6. Mood Changes
Seniors often have cause to be sad because of the challenges of growing older and losing friends. However, clinical depression is not a natural result of aging. If you notice a mood change that doesn’t go away, it could be a sign of underlying problems.
7. Lack of Social Activity
Social engagement is a primary marker of good physical and mental health. The advent of COVID-19 has made normal socializing more difficult for everyone, and your senior probably feels isolated. However, if they have lost interest in being socially active, that’s another red flag.
8. Inability to Walk Safely and Steadily
Aging can lead to muscle weakness, joint stiffness and pain, and balance issues. Falls are a primary cause of disability among seniors, so any signs of walking difficulty should be concerning.
In-Home Care Improves Quality of Life
If your loved one needs more assistance than you can provide, it’s time to get some in-home help and give yourself a break. In Columbia, SC, Caring Healthcare has expertise working with seniors, special needs children, and individuals with disabilities or special requirements because of illness. Talk to us today to see how in-home care can help you.