How to Recognize the Signs That Indicate a Senior Needs Help
A concern we often hear from adult children who call Era Living communities with questions about independent living or assisted living is how they will know when it is time to encourage their loved one to move. How can you tell when a senior’s need for socialization or for safety and support outweigh their desire to remain in their own home?
To help address these concerns, we have developed a list of signs to look for in an aging loved one.
Signs a Senior Needs Extra Support
- Falls and Balance Problems: Has your loved one experienced any falls? Do they seem to be having difficulty walking? Are they a little unsteady on their feet? Falls are a serious health risk for older adults. In fact, they are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among our seniors. Older homes can often be a contributing factor. Most aren’t designed to support the needs of older adults.
- Housekeeping Struggles: Has a normally tidy senior loved one been letting their housekeeping duties slide? Is their laundry piling up? It might be an indication that they are struggling to keep up with things and need a little more help.
- Personal Care: Is your loved one’s personal appearance and hygiene not quite what you’ve always known it to be? Are their clothes a little less tidy or are they wearing clothing that is inappropriate for the time of day or season of the year? These may be warning signs they are struggling.
- Medication Mistakes: Making a medication error is one of the leading reasons seniors visit hospital emergency rooms. The more types of medicines they take each day, the higher the risk for error. An easy way to determine how well your family member is managing medication is to compare the pills left in each bottle against the date and original number of pills in the bottle. If too many or too few are left, it can be a sign they are having trouble with medication management.
- Nutrition: Meal planning and preparation can become more challenging with aging. Everything from transportation to and from the grocery store to chopping and slicing might be difficult for a senior. It may lead to poor nutrition. Signals to watch for include expired foods in the refrigerator, unhealthy frozen dinners in the freezer, and fast food bags in the trash.
- Financial Problems: Financial problems are often one of the first clues adult children have that an aging parent is struggling. They can also be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Do you find unopened bills piled up on their counter or desk? Is your loved one receiving phone calls or letters from creditors about past due payments? Are there unusual charges on their credit cards? These are all signs something is wrong.
- Loss of Interest: Older adults who live alone are at higher risk for depression. Even the post-holiday blues can be harder for them to navigate through. If a senior you love seems to have lost interest in favorite hobbies and interests or if it is getting hard to get them to join you for family events and outings, it might be a sign of depression.
If more than one or two of these warning signs sound all too familiar, it may be time to begin exploring senior living options for your aging loved one. Our socialization and life enrichment programs, combined with the supportive living services we offer, help our residents stay actively engaged with life.