The holidays can be a convenient time of year to spot changes in your loved ones.
The New Year brings opportunity and change, but it can also be an aftershock of the holiday season. After the stress of coordinating family gatherings settles down, this is often the time of year when people notice changes in the elderly loved ones in their lives. This is a good opportunity to speak up and find solutions to help them find the help they need. January is also a good time of year to reach out to siblings or other family members to discuss troubling behaviors or signs that loved ones are having trouble coping with independent living. This may be an uncomfortable topic, but there are many options and agencies that can help seniors become more independent in their own homes.
Here is a list of things to look for that may indicate extra care is required:
- Changes in mobility
- Changes in personal hygiene, including wearing the same outfit often
- A lack of home maintenance, such as not changing light bulbs or not mowing the lawn
- Scorched pots or signs of a fire
- Weight change
- Excessive repetitive acts
- Confusion or memory loss (forgetting the month/year or how to operate a microwave or other commonly used kitchen appliances)
- Difficulty managing money or displaying bad judgement with expenses
- Unexplained dents in their car
- Unpaid bills, notices from creditors or bills filled out incorrectly
- Misplaced items found in strange places
- Spoiled food or lack of food in the fridge
- Frequent changes in mood or personality
It’s important to note that not all memory loss is an indication of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss is natural in the aging process, so to determine what could be natural memory loss and what could potentially be a more serious indication of memory impairment. For example, mild forgetfulness is common, but forgetting the year or month may be a sign of something more severe.Memory loss and confusion can also be caused by high blood pressure, sleep apnea, depression or certain medications.
Those who are concerned that a loved one is experiencing significant memory impairment or needs extra help should speak with them and encourage a visit to their physician. Consider getting a little extra help through a home care agency. Home care can help with household chores, hygiene, grocery shopping and transportation. For a more complete list of services offered by Home Care agencies, visit Home Care by Wesley.