It's one thing to have an injury that requires the assistance of a home health care agency, where the need is obvious, yet quite another to determine if an elderly person in your life is facing the kind of challenges that call for outside intervention. Many health care agencies tend to temporary situations, such as car accident victims and those recovering from surgery, until the patient can resume a normal, independent routine. Elders, however, may experience physical or mental degradation gradually, making it difficult to discern how much direct care may be needed.
The following list of potential indications of problems can help you determine how much, if any, care an elder in your life is in need of:
1. The Home Is Not Being Kept Up
When basic tasks, such as keeping the home clean and looking after the bills, are being neglected, particularly if this is out of the ordinary for your loved one, there may be cause for concern.
2. Nutrition May Be Insufficient
If the individual is not eating well or is losing weight, this could easily be a sign of trouble.
3. Physical Appearances Are Changing
Have you noticed a decline in how your loved one dresses or grooms themselves? This could tell you that they've lost interest in doing so or are having difficulty and perhaps not willing to admit it.
4. A Negative Attitude Toward Others Has Developed
If you or others have experienced unexplained outbursts, accusations, or other out-of-character scenarios, this may be an early sign of physical or mental deterioration. Dealing with the issues of aging is frustrating, especially when they are not yet fully understood or diagnosed.
5. Memory Issues Are Emerging
It's one thing to forget a birthday or name here and there, quite another to forget entire conversations. If you find yourself repeating too many things because they've been forgotten about, much more serious problems could be looming.
6. Depression Is Suspected
Many factors can join forces, leaving an elderly person very vulnerable to depression. Their physical condition, social situation, and even the medications they're taking may be working against them in various ways, making them feel very discouraged or clinically depressed. This is not a predicament they should be left to deal with by themselves.
7. Appointments Are Not Being Kept
Older folks who avoid important appointments or forget about them completely may be in need of the intermittent supervision and assistance provided by a home health care agency. The gentle reminders to keep appointments or even company on the ride to them will make life much easier.
8. Social Habits Have Changed Dramatically
If someone who formerly lavished in the pleasure of the company of others now insists on being alone and avoiding people, consider it a possible red flag. Elders exhibiting antisocial behavior could have an underlying condition causing it, like Alzheimer's, but being alone itself can actually harm their health; thus, you want this situation remedied.
9. There's New Frustration With Old Situations
When tasks that were formerly completed with ease are now leaving an elderly person angry or helpless, they probably need a little more help than they used to.
10. Other People Are Complaining Or Commenting About Your Loved One
Are you alone in suspecting your loved one may need assistance? Or have others mentioned similar observations? Talk to neighbors, the mailman and other people who regularly see your loved one and casually inquire about new, unusual or concerning changes.
Although many indicators also coincide with the aging process, if too many occur simultaneously or one or more of them threaten safety, health or your loved one's ability to interact with the rest of the world, consider contacting a professional in for an evaluation. The symptoms of Alzheimer's and depression, for example, are very similar, or both diseases could afflict your loved one at the same time; discerning such a complex situation is difficult, even for doctors.
The choice to call on home health care services for an elderly loved one isn't easy and you may face resistance from them or others in the family; however, that outside assistance could literally be life-saving and at the very least, will help you determine the best course of action in the immediate and long-term future. Trust your instincts, too and be adamant in your attempt to provide care for the time being.
There's a chance your hunches could be wrong and the elderly family member will get along just fine on their own, but if not, your advocacy will be invaluable. Contact a company like In Your Home Care to learn more.