An elderly family member or loved one may have lived alone for years. Many individuals do well on their own, but the need for home care assistance may arise suddenly or over time. Often the signs are subtle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.9 million patients in the U.S. received live-in assistance in 2013.
When one needs in-home care, the person’s safety and health are at risk if he or she continues to stay alone. You may notice changes in the person’s mental state, personal hygiene, and habits. Also, various signs of a change may be realized by looking around the house.
Physical, psychological, and social changes may not be noticeable over the phone. It’s important to be alert for changes when you interact with a loved one in person. Home care services for seniors should be considered if there are:
- Physical signs: Weight loss, mobility problems, and unexplained bruises can mean your loved one needs daily help. You may notice marks on walls, furniture, or door jams indicating they may need to hold on for stability.
- Mental changes: Changes in mood, difficulty keeping track of time, confusion with familiar tasks, missing appointments, or forgetting medications indicate problems. Poor judgment may include giving away money and falling for scams.
- Personal hygiene: Foul body odor may mean your loved one is neglecting to shower or bathe. You may also notice a urine smell at home or on their clothing or changes in grooming habits in terms of hair, nails, and oral hygiene.
Signs Around the House
Sometimes the changes are not that evident until you look around the home. The signs go beyond obvious unsanitary conditions or clutter. Here are some key places to look that might indicate your elderly parent or loved one needs extra help.
- The refrigerator is filled with uneaten or spoiled food. Even if the person is eating, it may just be enough to get by on and not enough nutritionally.
- Pots and pans may be scorched on the bottom, meaning the person has forgotten to turn off the stove; this is a fire hazard that can be life-threatening.
- Dirty laundry may be left in piles, meaning the person is forgetting to clean any clothing or is having difficulty doing so.
- Piles of unopened mail are left on the table or the mailbox is overflowing with letters; there may also be bounced checks and late payment notices.
- ower, phone, cable, or other utilities may be turned off because the person forgot to make the payments.
Once you notice signs a senior needs help, determining the exact type of care someone needs is a challenge. A care manager can assess the situation and recommend a course of action, including meal delivery, counseling, safety modifications, or a live-in aide from a home care assistance agency. Connecticut In-Home Assistance can conduct a free on-site assessment to decide if a loved one needs part-time or 24-hour care at home. For information on “home care assistance near me,” call us at 866-464-9035.