As the holidays approach, we often see loved ones we haven’t seen in months. Sometimes we notice things in our aging parents and grandparents that make us worry about them living on their own. How will you know if it’s time for them to have help? One answer is clear – it won’t be your aging loved one who tells you it’s time.

Seniors have a strong desire to remain independent and in control of their own lives for as long as possible. They want to stay in their own home, surrounded by the things they love, and the last thing they want is to become a burden to their children or grandchildren.

Often, an aging senior will experience a traumatic event or “wake-up call” before the family realizes it is time for assistance. Unfortunately, these wake-up calls involve major injuries or health issues much of the time.

Recognizing the common indicators that your aging loved ones needs assistance or care can reduce the likelihood of a traumatic event. Here are some of the signs everyone should watch for in aging loved ones.

Your parents have difficulty with or are incapable of performing routine activities of daily living such as:

  • Dressing and grooming
  • Bathing
  • Getting to and using the restroom
  • Transferring or moving from place to place (like moving from the chair to bed)
  • Walking
  • Eating

Changes in their physical appearance may also indicate they need assistance:

  • Noticeable weight loss (difficulty cooking, eating, shopping for food, etc.)
  • Sloppy appearance and/or poor hygiene (difficulty bathing, dressing, and grooming)
  • Bruises on the body may indicate they’ve fallen or are having trouble walking from place to place
  • Burns on the skin can indicate they’ve experienced problems cooking

Certain physical clues around your parents’ home may be a strong indicator:

  • The yard is not being maintained (difficulty completing regular tasks)
  • The house interior has not been maintained (difficulty completing regular tasks)
  • Automobile dents and scratches may indicate impaired driving ability
  • Carpet stains may be caused by dropping and spilling things
  • Urine odor in house (signs of incontinence)
  • Pots and pans with noticeable burn marks could indicate they forgot about food on the stove and left it burning
  • Unopened mail or unpaid bills may indicate difficulty completing regular tasks
  • Unfilled prescriptions (difficulty completing regular tasks)
  • Low food supply (difficulty completing regular tasks)

You may observe unusual behavior by your loved one:

  • Lack of drive or motivation
  • Failure to return phone calls
  • Become verbally or physically aggressive or abusive

Some warning signs could indicate the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairments:

  • Consistent memory lapses
  • Cannot recall names of familiar people or objects
  • Repeating the same thing or the same stories
  • Confusion
  • Loss of reasoning skills
  • Frequently misplaces things
  • Frequently gets lost walking or driving
  • Unable to complete a sentence
  • Rapid mood swings or changes in behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Wears the same clothes over and over

If you have noticed changes in your aging loved ones, it could be time for them to get additional help. That can be a difficult discussion, but Senior Home Assistance can help. We have been providing compassionate in-home care to thousands of East Tennesseans for 20 years.

Call Senior Home Assistance today at (865) 769-4170 or visit www.SeniorHomeAssistance.com.