Many of us will be traveling this year to visit. (Over 85 million will travel according to the AAA). This is a perfect time to review their situation. Here are some possible warning signs that mom or dad might need additional help:
Do they smell and look clean?
Do their teeth look caked with food like they haven’t been brushed in a while?
Are the clothes clean?
Is the hair ratty and greasy like it hasn’t been washed in a while?
Do you see any noticeable bruising?
Do you smell urine?
Do they look healthy?
Are they losing weight they shouldn’t be?
Is there fresh food in the fridge?
How about food in the cupboards?
How is the appetite? Notice any changes?
Is it clean?
Is it cluttered?
Do you smell urine?
Does the house smell clean?
How do they appear? Happy? Sad?
Can they hold long conversations?
Do they have stacks of unopened mail?
Are their prescriptions up to date?
Are all of their bills paid up to date?
Are they missing doctor appointments?
Do they repeat themselves constantly?
Do they retain what is said?
Do they talk differently then in the past? Slurred speech? Slower then usual?
Do they stop mid sentence and forget what they were talking about?
Do friends call or come over?
If they come over do they look worried or concerned?
Have they stopped socializing?
Do they go out and do fun things?
How is their balance and gait when walking?
Do they have trouble navigating around the house?
Are there any signs of falling like visible bruises or broken furniture?
Do they have trouble with steps?
Are there any medications out of date?
Do you see an excess of medication piling up?
Are there pills on the floor or in the carpets?
Do they understand what each medication is for?
Are the medications grouped by time of day to be taken?
Do they drive to doctors appointments or the pharmacy?
If they don’t drive themselves then who does?
Are they buying things that they don’t need and are just lying around unused or worse yet unopened?
Do they spend lots of time on the internet shopping?
Are there lots of charitable letters in their mail?
Do they get lots of sales calls on the phone?
These are but a few signs that you can look for to see if an elder parent or grandparent might need some additional help at home. Please take some time to make a note of what you see. If you do this and keep a log you might start to notice a pattern before it gets to a crises.
Planning is very important when it comes to our seniors. Most of us wish to live independently for the rest of our lives but for some, that is just not possible. The Department of Health and Human Services anticipates that 40% of people over the age of 65 will need some form of help or additional care. The longer we live the more that possibility will increase.
Bob Francis is the founder of Senior Care Concierge. He is passionate about seniors after having gone through many trials and tribulations with his own father