Signs to look for
Physical changes, like poor hygiene, a lack of grooming, weight loss, poor balance or bruises. Physical appearance can show whether your loved ones are taking care of themselves.
Cognitive difficulties, like repeating themselves or continually asking the same thing, challenges planning an activity, getting lost when driving to a familiar place, missing appointments, misplacing items, disorienting in stores, leaving the stove on or not paying bills. Some memory loss is natural, but these examples may indicate your parent is developing a more severe condition.
Habit changes, like no longer getting together with friends or participating in activities they enjoy. Research shows that friendships and an active social circle have a dramatic impact on quality of life. Social isolation and loneliness can lead to depression.
Sensory changes, like a loss of vision, hearing, smell or taste. Some sensory changes are a normal part of aging, but others indicate underlying health issues. Hearing or vision loss can also impact social interactions and lead to loneliness or depression.
Other signs are in plain sight. Check the car for fender benders or signs your parent is having trouble driving. In the kitchen, check to see if they are eating nutritious meals and if they are able to cook for themselves. Is their bedroom well-kept and odour free? Check to see if there are stacks of unopened mail or if bills are piling up. Look in the medicine cabinet to see what medications are prescribed, if they are appropriately managed or expired.
Naturally most people want to stay in their home and “age in place”, even when they need assistance. The holiday season offers the time to see things as they are and is an excellent opportunity to suggest your loved ones seek Home Care support if any of the above examples are observed.