During the 8 years that I have been in the business of helping the elderly relocate to assisted living in the Valley, I have noticed some consistent signs and symptoms that indicate it’s time to have ‘the talk’. My goal is to educate, inform and support families, so they can avoid a fear based rejection of the obvious signs and symptoms that it’s likely time to reach out for help.
Look for strange behavior, such as not knowing who you are, how to tie their shoes or unable to decide what clothes to wear, based on the time of year or current weather conditions. Perhaps you notice your loved one wears the same dirty clothes and/or they are not taking a shower regularly. A sure-fire sign that additional help may be needed is when the laundry, cleaning the house and bathing has become too burdensome or physically challenging for them.
While we are all a little forgetful, a consistent form of forgetfulness could be an indication of a bigger problem. If your loved one is not taking medications in a timely fashion, forgetting to take them or not remembering if they took them ‘today’ or not, this should be an indication to you that they need more help in their daily living routine.
Things like depressed mood, downtrodden, sluggishness, feeling isolated or alone is a big psychological factor in the aging process. Don’t expect them to come out and tell you these things openly. You need to be proactive and alert.
Be on the lookout and take action quickly if you observe your loved one:
- Losing a lot of weight
- Having trouble preparing meals
- Not running errands or keeping up with the mail
- Missing scheduled medications
- Not eating well or having spoiled food around
They could have had a few minor falls since your last visit. Usually, this is due to a loss of balance or general weakness from dehydration or even malnutrition. Is their skin integrity deteriorating? Are they bruised or even bruising easily when they bump their arms or hands on something? Watch as they walk across the floor from room-to-room. Does it look safe? Do you feel ‘nervous’ about what you are witnessing? It’s time to start talking about options.
No one wants to be a burden to another, so be prepared for a response that attempts to explain things away, or make excuses for all the obvious things you are witnessing. Be gentle, but honest and get help from outside sources if you can’t get through to them. Sometimes they just can’t hear it from a spouse, child or other family member, and a 3rd party professional may be able to open their eyes.
Paying attention and looking out for these signs can help you avoid that one ‘Event’ that lands them in a hospital with a severe condition. Don’t turn a blind eye to the obvious signs and symptoms of a loved one in need.
Reach out to us here at VIP Senior Placement to help you identify a safer environment for your loved one. We understand the challenges associated with this process and act as an advocate with free help and assistance. Our services are completely free and will reduce the amount of stress, frustration and fear of this important life-changing decision so you can move your loved one with confidence and peace of mind. Call today for a no-obligation consultation.