One of the hardest parts of adulthood is seeing your loved ones get older. Seeing parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family friends that were such a big part of your life growing up start to age and struggle with their independence can be tough, and you will want to do what you can to help.
It is not always obvious when an aging loved one is reaching a stage where they need assistance and they may not be forthcoming and ask for help. Therefore, it is helpful to be aware of a few signs that some kind of action needs to be taken so that they can get the support that they need. Here are a few of the signs to look out for.
Poor Personal Hygiene
One of the clearest signs that an aging loved one is starting to struggle is poor personal hygiene. Issues such as body odor, bad breath, greasy hair, unclipped nails, and wearing the same clothes repeatedly suggest that they are finding it hard to look after themselves and could benefit from some kind of help in the home. Additionally, be sure to look for bruises and cuts that might suggest that they are struggling with mobility.
A Messy Home
Similarly, a messy home is another sign that they are finding it hard to manage (especially if they have always been a tidy person). This is why it is a good idea to visit them in their home often to see if they are keeping on top of the housework. A few signs to look out for include:
- Unwashed dishes and mugs
- Unsorted mail
- Empty fridge/fridge with expired items
A clear and often worrying sign that someone is not looking after themselves is weight loss. Weight loss can be common as people get older and it is sometimes nothing to worry about—but it can also be a concern in two different ways.
First, it suggests that they are not eating and this is a sign that they need some kind of help. The other concern is that weight loss can be a sign of an underlying health issue if it is unexplained. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on their weight and ask them what they have been eating recently.
Forgetfulness is another sign that can be worrying in a few ways. It is true that sometimes people become more forgetful in old age and this is not an issue—but sometimes it can be a serious problem.
Of course, forgetfulness is problematic because it can result in them not looking after themselves, but it could also be a sign of a memory illness such as dementia. Therefore, if your loved one is becoming increasingly forgetful and not keeping their appointments then you may want to get them assessed.
If they have some kind of memory illness then it is a good idea to start looking into memory care facilities, such as Cedar Glen Memory Care. Places like this are ideal because they ensure that your loved one can get the care and attention that they need, but they can also benefit from a home-like environment and activities that can bring them joy in life.
Social isolation is a major issue among seniors. If you have a loved one who is becoming more withdrawn, this could be an issue (especially if they live alone). You should try to involve them in activities, visit them often, and find social opportunities for them that will get them out of the house.
It is also helpful to teach them how to use modern technology if they are unfamiliar with it, as this can make it a lot easier for them to stay connected with family and friends—particularly if they do not live nearby.
A Lack Of Mobility
An obvious sign that a loved one is struggling is a lack of mobility. If they are having trouble getting around then this suggests that they need some kind of help. There are lots of steps that can be taken here, including the use of walking aids, home modifications, and even medication. It is not always easy, but communication is key, so you should try to discuss with them what they are struggling with so that you can find solutions.
It is hard seeing a loved one start to age and struggle with their independence. The above are a few signs that you might need to step in and help in one way or another. Sometimes, it can be helping in a simple way, but there are also some signs that suggest that you may need to seek professional support.