Visiting family during the holiday season can be a joyful experience, but if you don’t see your elderly loved ones often, it may be difficult to tell what’s really going on with them. Many people who live far away from loved ones depend on frequent telephone conversations and updates from friends and relatives. A decline in one’s health can happen rapidly, and seniors tend to downplay or conceal problems.
For many families, the holidays are the only chance they have to observe the situation in person, so it is vital to pay attention and evaluate your loved one’s health and living situation while you’re visiting. If you do spot areas of concern, it may be time to consider additional assistance with senior home care, as the problem will either stay the same or most likely get worse. We will cover the warning signs to look for that may indicate your loved one needs senior home care.
Signs to Identify the Need for Senior Home Care
Cancer, depression, dementia, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and other conditions can lead to significant and sudden weight loss. Many seniors also suffer from lower energy, which can make normal daily activities like shopping, preparing meals and cleaning up challenging. Cooking may not seem worth the effort if your loved one lives alone. A senior home caregiver can prepare meals and make sure your loved one receives adequate nutrition to stay healthy.
If weight loss is apparent, speak with your loved one about it and schedule an appointment with his or her healthcare provider.
Balance and Mobility
Observe the way your loved one moves and walks. Changes in gait, an unwillingness to walk or noticeable pain during movement can be a sign of joint, bone, muscle or neurological issues. If your loved one seems unsteady when getting up, standing or walking, he or she could be at an increased risk of falling. A fall can lead to broken bones and other severe injuries that may result in hospitalization. Options such as in-home senior care can help your loved one stay safe and avoid falls.
Emotional and Mental Health
Although you may talk to your loved one on the phone frequently, it’s tough to measure a person’s emotional state without speaking face-to-face. When you go home for a visit, pay close attention to changes in your loved one’s moods and behavior. Signs of depression and anxiety can include:
- Isolating and withdrawing from social activities
- Loss or increase in appetite
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in things your loved one used to enjoy
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Increased anger and agitation
- Failure to perform everyday tasks, such as cooking and cleaning
Some of these symptoms can also indicate signs of dementia. If you notice sudden behavior changes in your loved one, be sure to contact his or her doctor.
Take a look around your loved one’s home to assess the general level of cleanliness. If they are typically neat and organized, stacks of newspapers and mail can signal a problem. If the refrigerator is empty or full of expired food and the laundry hamper is overflowing, your loved one may benefit from senior home care to help with tasks like running errands, preparing meals, and light housekeeping.
It’s also prudent to check and see if your loved one is taking his or her medications as prescribed. Look for expired medications, and if you suspect they are forgetting to take medications, a senior home caregiver can help with medication reminders.
If you’re interested in learning more about senior home care in Dallas, TX, please give us a call at 214-377-0711.