One of the most challenging conversations you will need to have with a loved one will be whether they are ready to move to an assisted living or skilled nursing community. To help you figure out when to have that conversation, here are the top seven ways to tell if your loved one needs more help.
Significant weight loss
Preparing meals can become quite a burden. If your loved one lives alone, they may be much more likely to just skip a meal rather than get out to the grocery store or spend money on delivery. While you may be able to supplement with a visiting meal service or helping purchase single serve quick meals for them, keep an eye on their weight as it will be impossible to hide the weight loss from chronic meal skipping.
Does your loved one talk about falling? Do you notice a missing or broken lamp or odd marks on the walls? The bones are much more brittle as we age, so while a fall here or there may have no impact when we are younger, a significant fall for a senior can break bones and be debilitating. If your loved one lives alone, they may be on the floor from a fall for hours or even days before help arrives.
Are you seeing any new bruises or scrapes on your loved one? Watch the knee and elbow areas carefully, as well as any scrapes on their hands or face that might indicate a fall or other accident may have happened.
Neglecting basic hygiene
Can you tell if your loved one is not bathing, shaving or keeping their clothes clean? If they used to go to the barber or beauty shop regularly but aren’t now, that also can be a sign. Bathing and dressing may have become difficult if they are losing some basic mobility. It could just be easier for them to forego some of their basic hygiene routine.
House in disarray
Are you seeing more clutter, dust or disarray in their home? Are there unexplained odors or food that has been left out or trash that is piling up? These also could be signs that maintaining their home has become too cumbersome.
Forgetting to take medicine
If your loved one takes multiple medications, managing the proper doses taken at the proper times can be confusing. Take note of the number of doses left in a prescription when you help get one fulfilled. If they are not being used as quickly as they should be, ask the tough question if they actually are taking them as prescribed.
More deadly than obesity according to recent studies, loneliness also carries a shameful stigma. No one wants to admit they are lonely, but about 40 percent of adults are. For aging seniors, many of their social circles have shrunk over the years due to death or people moving away.
While most people will tell you they are fine and want to stay at home as long as they can, that may not be the best decision if they are battling any of the concerns listed above. There are many options for additional levels of care to help prolong your loved one’s life and quality of life. It might be time to check out an assisted living or senior living community to get the support they need.