It’s a new year with many new things to look forward to, but there may be some lingering thoughts nagging you from a recent visit with Mom and Dad over the holidays. Did Dad seem more forgetful than usual? Mom looked a little shaky on her feet. And why wasn’t there much food in the fridge?
Whenever families gather together, it’s a good time to watch for subtle changes in a senior’s health and environment as these can be warning signs that care is needed in the home. Did you notice any of these signs during your last visit with a senior loved one?
- Change in physical appearance: Is your mother usually dressed impeccably, but lately you’ve noticed her wearing old or stained clothes all the time? Perhaps her hair is dirty or not done up as usual as well? Neglecting to keep up with daily personal hygiene routines such as bathing, brushing teeth, laundry and other basic grooming might suggest health complications such as depression, dementia, or other physical impairments.
- Unexpected weight loss: Does dad look a little underweight? For older adults, unexpected weight loss could be related to many concerns, including difficulty cooking or inability to go out to the grocery store. Sometimes weight loss is a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as poor nutrition, dementia, depression, or even cancer.
- Changes in the home: Any significant changes in the senior’s home could offer clues to health. For example, burned pans could mean the senior forgot about food cooking on the stove. Unattended housework could be a sign of depression, dementia, or mobility issues. Check to see if the lights are working, the heat is on, the bathrooms are clean, and no clutter is blocking the walkways of the senior’s home.
- Changes in behavior: Increased forgetfulness and/or inappropriate behavior can also be a sign of dementia or other cognitive issues. Additionally, things like forgotten or unopened mail, unfilled prescriptions, unpaid bills, or making unusual purchases are signs to watch out for in an older loved one.
If you detect warning signs that care is needed, like a neglected home, unexplained weight loss, or other overall mood and behavior changes, talk to your senior loved one’s physician to ensure that he or she knows about the changes, and then discuss California home care options with your loved one that can help him or her live safely and happily at home.
Need assistance initiating the home care conversation with a senior loved one? Hillendale Home Care’s Walnut Creek caregivers are happy to help. Contact us at 925-933-8181 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll be happy to discuss all the senior care options available to you.