More and more seniors today are choosing to age in place within the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. Most are happy, healthy and fully independent. But as the aging process moves forward, at some point most seniors will need some outside assistance, such as in-home senior care, to help them to take care of themselves and their homes.

There may be an elderly loved one in your life that you’re keeping an eye on, like a parent or grandparent, to determine if-and-when they might need a hand. Some of the warning signs can be subtle, and you certainly don’t want to be intrusive or impose upon their freedom and independence. Deciding when it’s time to think about in-home senior care can be challenging. To assist your efforts, here are some of the important signs to look for.

Routine Tasks Are Not Getting Done

All of us slow down as we age, so keep that in mind when monitoring the daily living activities of your loved one. However, more telling red flags to be aware of when you’re in their home include:

  • Stacks of unopened mail, notably unpaid bills
  • Unwashed dishes, garbage piled up, and other unsanitary conditions
  • A lack of adequate food in the home
  • Yard work not getting done
  • Appliances that haven’t worked for a while
  • Dirty clothes lying around
  • Bad odors inside the house
  • Excessive clutter

When several of these begin to add up, the home’s environment can actually become dangerous, especially if a senior also has some form of cognitive impairment like mild dementia.

Physical and Cognitive Signs Appear

Major surgery, a serious illness, or being diagnosed with a chronic medical condition can all jeopardize a senior’s ability to live at home, along with advancing age itself. These are some of the physical and cognitive (mental) signs to look for:

  • Forgetting to take or refill their medications
  • Not getting to the doctor and other important appointments
  • Frequent falls and unexplained bruises
  • Not keeping up their appearance as before, like wearing disheveled clothing and having unkept hair
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty walking, especially on stairs
  • Atypical mood swings or mood changes
  • Unexplained dents or scratches on their car
  • Recovering from an acute illness like the flu takes much longer
  • Not remembering who you are, or recent events they’ve experienced
  • Ignoring their friends and normal social activities

Some of these physical and mental changes can be temporary, caused by something like a fall, surgery or medications. But when your loved one just doesn’t seem to be their happy, healthy or mentally-sharp self any longer, it may be time to consider some in-home senior care to guarantee their safety and wellbeing. You wish the best for your loved one, and will no doubt want to offer some caregiving assistance.

Beware of “Caregiver Burnout”

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