Signs a senior may need help

Age tends to sneak up on all of us, and our loved ones aren’t exempt. Decline in physical or mental health often surprises family members. Seniors may have been doing well the last time you saw them and sound great over the phone. But the key is to be aware of the small signs and changes that may indicate a need for additional help.

Listed below are some common indicators to be aware of when visiting a senior loved one:

– Difficulty with routine activities of daily living (dressing, toileting, transferring, walking and/or eating)

– Difficulty getting around their home and in the community

– Poor balance or history of falls

– Unexplained bruises or injuries

– Marks on the walls, furniture, etc.

– Noticeable weight loss

– Moldy or rotten food

– Low food supply

– Burnt pots and pans

– Trash not taken out

– Dirty laundry piling up

– Stains on furniture or carpet

– Unpleasant odors in the home

– Infrequent bathing

– Decline in grooming habits and personal care

– House and/or yard need maintenance

– Cluttered, dirty and/or disorganized house

– Unexplained dents or scratches on vehicles

– Loss of interest in activities or hobbies

– Difficulty keeping track of time

– Sleeping more than usual

– Unopened mail or overflowing mailbox

– Unpaid bills or bills paid multiple times

– Unusual payments to telemarketers, television advertisements, etc.

– Missing important appointments

– Forgetting to take medications, taking more than prescribed, or unfilled prescriptions

– Lack of drive or motivation

– Unanswered or unreturned phone calls

– Verbally or physically abusive

– Frequently misplacing things

– Gets lost walking or driving

– Repetitive speech

– Rapid mood swings or changes in behavior

– Changes in personality

– Cannot recall names of familiar people or things

– Unexpected or unexplained changes

If you notice one or several of the above indicators, there are steps you can take to ensure your loved one’s health and well-being as well as give yourself some peace of mind.

– Start a conversation and discuss your concerns with your loved ones.

– Encourage scheduling a visit to the doctor to address any issues that may be caused a change in health. Offer to go with them and be an advocate.

– Address any immediate health and safety issues and assist them in coming up with solutions to remedy or maintain additional concerns.

– Ask for help. Not everyone is knowledgeable about local resources and services, especially if family members don’t live in the area.

Aging Life Care provides an opportunity for adults age 65 and older and those with chronic medical or mental health needs to stay independent longer with the support and guidance of a trusted advisor. Care specialists advocate, communicate, coordinate and navigate on behalf of their clients. Contact Cheryl Coyle, Aging Life Care Specialist with Lutheran Social Services on ND – Minot at 271-3251.