It can be hard to determine whether or not your aging family member is doing fine living on their own, or if their functioning has declined to the point where they need help with daily living. There are some specific signs to look out for to know for sure whether your family member might need special care in a retirement home.
Many times it isn't possible to see changes in health from a distance. Try giving your loved one a big hug or hold their hand, see if you notice changes in strength and weight loss or gain. Check to see if they are slumped over in any way or if you notice slow or forced movement when you embrace them.
Frailty can also be hard to notice if you don't look carefully. See if your loved one is able to get out of a chair easily or whether it's a struggle. Also check on cosmetic changes, like imperfections in hair and makeup that may not have been common before. You should check for change in hygiene by seeing if you can detect any kind of body odor, bad breath or dirty hair. These things might indicate a change in both physical and mental health.
Your loved one's association with others can also be a key sign that it might be time for a change. Check and see when the last time they went out for coffee or engaged in social gatherings was, including everything from religious events to just casual visits. Did they usually keep a normal calendar with appointments, and it is now bare? This is an indication of changes in either mental or physical functioning.
Check and see if hobbies and interests have changed. If painting or craft making was commonplace for years and suddenly dropped off, it could indicate depression, or just a lack of being able to physically perform even the simplest tasks using muscle memory anymore. Another good tip is to see if they are leaving the home frequently, becoming too introverted can be a sign of other issues, such as depression or anxiety.
Close Calls and Accidents
The big issues are always easier to spot, and thus can't be ignored. If your loved one had a fall or a recent medical scare due to a chronic condition that does just not seem to be getting better, this could be a strong indicator of problems. If he or she went through a complicated medical procedure recently, follow along with the recovery process, checking to see if it is slow or stagnant. If there has been a recent fall, car accident, surgery or other major life event, check in on how daily activities are performed; such as showering, doing laundry, cooking, and crucially important, taking medications on time and regularly. Check to see whether refills are being handled properly, or whether he or she can remember to pick them up ahead of time.
Letting Things Go
Many times, clues are left in the home as to whether or not things are being kept up on. You should look for mail left in tall stacks around the house, checking if bills are left untended to. You should also check for suspicious mail from scammers or unknown charities. Look around and see if there are any expired foods laying around in the house that should have been thrown away. You should also check to see that appliances are all in obvious working order.
To care for an elderly loved one sometimes means taking the initiative yourself to make sure things are still on track. Following these tips will help discover if someone dear to you might need more help than you can provide, and a retirement home may be a perfect place to give them the attention they deserve.Share