As more seniors are living longer, more are living alone. It is important to check in on your loved ones and assess what assistance they may need to safely age in their homes.
Questions to ask
- Are they lonely? Are they getting out socially?
- If living with another, are they dependent on that person for care?
- Do they require help with housekeeping, dressing, bathing, shopping, meal preparations, or medications?
Does your Aging Parent Need Help? Look for These Signs
Sometimes, seniors do not recognize a decline or limitations. During your visit, check for warning signs of self-neglect, or others that are exploiting the seniors.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Senior appears undernourished, dehydrated, under medicated
- Observing the senior driving unsafely – car is scratched or dented
- Frequent falling – unexplained bruising
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
- Poor personal hygiene
- Disheveled clothing
- Forgetting to take medications
- Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
- Poor diet or weight loss
However, if your loved one is showing signs of memory loss or other cognitive impairment look for signs of elder abuse and exploitation.
- Changes in bank account or spending patterns
- Appearance of “new best friend” who is willing to care for the senior for little to no cost’
- An abundance of shopping packages, mail and/or phone solicitations for money
Discuss concerns with your loved ones openly and honestly.
The Next Steps
If you believe your loved one needs help reach out to other family or friends to offer support. It can be difficult to know when to step in but taking time to observe, listen and understand what your loved ones are experiencing during your visits are the first steps.