Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Red flags to look for when is time to step in

How do you know if it is time for help at home or an increased level of care? Look for these red flags as common indicators that a senior may need assistance.

"A personal note from me, all of the signs mentioned below are what apply to my Mom's situation. The picture that I included in this post, is how I found her room not so long ago. Yes, things changed after that incident. 

Her level of care and assistance increased. It was a huge wake-up call for me and my sisters"

Difficulty Performing these Daily Activities:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing and grooming
  • Toileting
  • Continence
Other signs to look for:
  • Transferring or moving from place to place (e.g., moving from the bed to a chair)
  • Eating
  • Changes in Physical Function or Appearance That Indicate a Need for Assistance
  • Noticeable weight loss due to poor diet, difficulty cooking, eating, shopping for food, etc.
  • Sloppy appearance due to difficulty dressing and grooming.
  • Poor personal hygiene and unpleasant body odor as a result of infrequent showering or bathing.
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care, such as unkempt hair, untrimmed nails, or lack of oral care.
  • Bruises, wounds, or other marks on the body that could indicate a senior has fallen or is having trouble walking or moving from place to place.
  • Noticeable burns on the skin could indicate a senior is experiencing problems cooking.
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping for most of the day.
  • Changes in Behavior or Mental Status
  • Lack of drive or motivation.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.Difficulty keeping track of time.
  • Failure to return phone calls to friends and family members.
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings.
  • Increased agitation
  • Verbally or physically abusive behaviors.
  • Physical Clues That Your Parents Are Neglecting Household Responsibilities
  • Inability to independently complete Instrumental ADLs.
  • Dirty house and/or extreme clutter.
  • Stacks of unopened mail, late payment notices, or bounced checks.
  • Unpaid bills, calls from collectors, or utilities being turned off.
  • Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away. 
  • Little or no fresh, healthy food or overall low food supply.
  • Stained or wet furniture or carpet.
  • Urine odor in the house (signs of incontinence).
  • Pots and pans with noticeable burn marks could indicate food has been left unattended while cooking or reheating.
  • General upkeep, such as the lawn, snow removal or garbage collection, not being maintained as normal.
  • Signs of unsafe driving, such as automobile dents and scratches.
  • Unfilled prescriptions.

If these signs are present, it doesn’t necessarily mean a move to assisted living or nursing.  home is required. However, these red flags do indicate that daily supportive care is needed. For many families, hiring help at home allows an elderly parent to stay in the comfort of their home as long as it is a safe environment for the individual.