Sometimes it can be really difficult to see if your elderly relative or friend needs a helping hand, particularly if they are known for putting on a brave face. Daily activities can start becoming stressful, exhausting and occasionally dangerous, so watch out for the signs that your relative may need daily assistance or more comprehensive care:
1/ Forgetfulness. We all have our moments, but are they becoming more and more frequent? Forgetting plans, appointments or bills that need to be paid, or getting lost and confused more often can be inconvenient for their daily life, but can also indicate a more serious medical condition. An evaluation with the doctor might be necessary to help determine what your relative needs to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. This may be medication or just more frequent visits and care.
2/ Hygiene. If your relative’s appearance is looking messier or less hygienic, they are probably not looking after themselves as well as they used to. It may be that they are physically too exhausted to brush their teeth at the end of the day or to brush their hair, or they may be forgetting. Wearing dirty or inappropriate clothing and having a lack of awareness of their appearance can indicate physical problems, depression or Alzheimer’s. Talk to your relative about it and consider a doctor’s evaluation. If the struggles are just physical, they may need more care and help doing those daily activities.
3/ Appetite. Is your parent or relative losing weight? This could be for a number of reasons, including forgetting to eat, having trouble cooking and reading recipes, struggling to hold utensils or just not being bothered about food. Spend the time helping them prepare meals, or think about a daily or live-in carer to help them. Check the fridge for out of date food and don’t forget that keeping hydrated is equally important.
4/ Physical difficulties. There are multiple ways that physical struggles can negatively affect an elderly person’s lifestyle. General maneuvering around the house can be difficult or painful, particularly if there are stairs, slippery tiles or cluttered areas. Assess the practicality of your elderly relative’s home and make the improvements you see necessary. Scratches, bruises and burns can indicate difficulties, even if you don’t see any incidents yourself. The house being messy and unkempt can also show that maintaining the house is too much of a task. Think about a daily carer to visit regularly to declutter areas and help around the house, and consider a walking stick or cane for extra support.
It can be very difficult for elderly parents to admit they need aid, no matter how extensive or minor, after being independent for so long. Consider carefully how you bring up your worries in conversation and be extremely sensitive to their situation. Talk to them about what solutions they think would work for them, before making any decisions.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team to discuss the variety of options we offer for a range of living situations on 01494 678811 or drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.