Holidays can be an exciting time of year as multiple generations of your family come together to celebrate, particularly when you haven’t connected as a group in some time. Unfortunately, isolation, as dictated by COVID-19, has taken a toll on many seniors over the last two years, and for those living at home, it has been difficult to find quality care due to staffing shortages across the nation. When visiting a senior family member for the first time since the pandemic, you may notice some declines in their physical, cognitive, and/or psychological states. It is important to recognize warning signs that may indicate that your loved one might need assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs).
It is a decision that can be overwhelming and does not come lightly, so below are eight considerations that can help you in your decision-making journey.
1. Physical function declines
As we age, our muscle mass naturally reduces, but large changes could threaten safety. Changes that could pose safety issues in their home environment may include difficulties in carrying out activities such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of the bathtub, carpeting that is difficult to walk on – all of which increase the risk of falls. It’s important to talk with your loved one about how their day to day chores go. A telltale sign is unexplained bruising or injuries, or suddenly moving to the downstairs bedroom.
2. Untidy appearance
As simple tasks become more difficult or forgotten, fulfilling basic hygiene practices such as brushing their hair, shaving, oral care, trimming nails, and bathing can become difficult or impossible. f you notice this in your loved one, it might be time to look at Assisted Living.
3. Dramatic weight gain or loss
This may indicate inadequate nutrition or possibly a serious physical or mental health condition. Senior living communities dramatically help with this because not only are meals prepared for your loved one, but they are also reminded when meal times roll around, so they’re not missed.
4. Personality changes
Changes such as extreme mood swings, abusive behaviors, or appearing detached could indicate a mental health condition. If possible, have your loved one consult with a doctor, or consult with one alone.
5. Cognitive declines
This includes difficulty keeping track of time, forgetting to take their medicine, not being able to recall familiar words, having difficulty performing every-day tasks, and missing appointments with friends and doctors. While forgetfulness is a natural sign of aging, it could indicate Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and a professional consultation should be scheduled.
6. Loss of interest in past hobbies or activities
Check in to see if your loved is still spending time with their favorite activity. Make sure that they have an activity that they look forward to doing.
7. Neglecting basic household maintenance
Tough or tough to remember chores such as mowing the lawn, opening mail, keeping rooms organized, opening mail, and having fresh healthy food in the pantry and refrigerator. Floors should be clutter-free to reduce the risk of falls.
8. Evidence of unsafe driving
You might not have to take a drive to notice trouble on the road. Look for new damages to their car, garage door, or mailbox.
The decision to make a change in the care and/or living situation for your loved one is a thoughtful and kind one. While you seek to learn more about ways to keep your special person healthy, active, and socializing, we want to be a resource for you whether you choose our community or find a different solution.