Sometimes it’s obvious that your loved one needs more help than you can provide. A debilitating health event like a fall, stroke, or car accident causing serious bodily injury can quickly render someone incapable of caring for themselves. However, more often than not, the signs are subtle, and they accumulate gradually. This article will provide you with five signs you can look out for as you think about in-home care for your loved one.
1. Can they manage self-care?
One of the common signs of decline is a change in personal hygiene, including unkempt appearance, untidy dressing, infrequent bathing resulting in body odor, or other signs of the lack of ability to care for themselves.
The condition of their home is also a good indicator of self-management. For example, a home that was once kept clean but now has piles of dirty dishes, stained furniture, and a sparse pantry is indicative of the need for in-home care.
Also, look for stacks of mail and unpaid bills, small things like lightbulbs being burnt out and not being replaced (safety hazard), and empty medication bottles. They are all signs that a senior is struggling to take care of themself.
2. Is there significant memory loss?
As we age, some loss of memory is normal. Forgetting someone’s name or losing their car keys doesn’t mean that people need to be relocated to a memory care facility.
However, you should be concerned when you observe these signs, which are indicative of more extensive memory loss:
- Getting lost in familiar places
- Repeatedly asking the same questions
- The inability to follow instructions
- Being confused about time and location
- Not remembering the names and roles of people who are well-known to them
3. Is your loved one safe at home?
Take your time and observe their living environment. Are there loose rugs they could trip over? Exposed electrical cords that could cause a fall? Are they having difficulty navigating the stairs or getting around the home?
Observe if they’re able to reach dishes, glasses, and other objects they use every day. Check medication bottles and see if they’re missing doses. Check for bruises, broken eyeglasses, or other signs they’ve fallen.
4. Are they safe driving the car?
Some seniors won’t tell family members that they’re no longer up to the task of driving for fear that they’ll lose much of their independence.
Let them drive you around their neighborhood or to the store and see how they do. Are they white-knuckled doing 20 mph in a 45 mph zone? Diminished vision, slowed reflexes, and hearing loss increase confusion and make driving more challenging as we age.
Take a walk around the car and look for new dents and dings on the vehicle. Also, recent tickets or warnings for mishaps are a red flag.
5. Has your loved one lost weight?
An unexplained weight loss of 10 percent or more can be a sign of physical problems, mental health issues, or both.
Weight loss can be the result of:
- Loss of taste or smell – these diminish as we age, which can make eating less enjoyable
- Difficulty cooking – they may not have the energy to cook, have challenges reading labels or following directions and recipes, or have trouble standing at the stove or bending over in the pantry
- Financial issues – they may be buying less food because of financial pressure
- Other health conditions – weight loss can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as cancer, depression, or dementia
When It’s Time for In-Home Care, Epsilon Can Help
If you notice some of these indicators, it may be time to consider getting assistance for your loved one. Epsilon Home Based Quality Care encourages you to schedule a FREE Home Care Consult. A Certified Senior Care Manager will assess your family member’s needs and determine the type of care they need.
Call us today at (678) 928-6578. We provide the highest quality in-home care throughout Snellville, Gwinnett County, and North Central Georgia. We’re here to help.