It is natural to worry about relatives as they age, and you will want to do all that you can to help so that they can lead a happy lifestyle in their golden years. Of course, there are many challenges and health issues that come with aging, and sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not a loved one is in need of some sort of support or care. While it will depend on the person, there are a few clear signs that someone might be struggling and a few steps that you can take to help them in their life.
First, the best way to work out whether or not an aging loved one is in need of some kind of support or help is to ask them. People will often suffer in silence and not want to be a nuisance (especially if you have your own kids and a busy life), so it is worth sitting down and delicately approaching the subject if you are concerned and to maintain open communication. There may be something specific that they are struggling with, but sometimes just giving someone your attention and them being able to vent is immensely helpful.
Struggling With Daily Activities
A clear sign that someone might need care or support is that they are struggling with daily activities when you spend time with them. They may struggle with walking, find it difficult to get out of their chair, have trouble with the bathroom or anything else. Obviously, certain tasks become harder as you age, but if the person is suffering from this, you may need to come up with a solution of some kind, such as making an adaptation to the home.
Newly Acquired Injuries
If, when you see an elderly relative, they always seem to have a new bruise, scratch, or burn, then this is another sign to look out for. This suggests that they are having accidents and hurting themselves while leading their daily life. Clearly, this is a sign that they are in need of support before seriously injuring themselves.
Frequent Health Complaints
Following this, if they frequently complain about their health, then you should always listen and encourage them to visit the doctor if it is a health issue that causes concern. People will often complain about their health as they age (which is understandable), but if it is persistent or sounds like a potential health issue, they may need to see a doctor and you might find it useful to attend appointments with them.
It is always a smart idea to visit the person that you are worried about in their home from time to time as somebody’s home is a clear reflection of their life. If you find that the home is messy, unclean, and there are stacks of mail, this suggests that they are having difficulty keeping on top of the home. There may also be repairs and issues in the home that need carrying out.
Unkempt Appearance and Poor Personal Hygiene
Leading on from this, another clear sign that someone is struggling and in need of help is an unkempt appearance and/or poor personal hygiene. They may wear the same clothes, have long fingernails and hair that has not been cut in a long time. This could signify a range of problems, whether this is mental health issues or simply finding it difficult to look after themselves.
People often lose weight as they age, but it can be a cause for concern when this is sudden and/or extreme. It could signify a health issue, so it is always worth getting them checked out, but often it is simply because they are not maintaining a healthy and balanced diet (an empty fridge is another clear indication of this). Many seniors struggle to get to the shops on a regular basis, so you could look into having food delivered, but if it is that they struggle to cook for themselves, then you could find some easy recipes or perhaps have a carer brought in.
Some forgetfulness is common as people age, but it is something that you need to keep a close eye on. If the person is regularly forgetful or a sudden change in their ability to recall memories, you should get them checked out. Of course, there are health concerns with memory loss, but it is also a danger because forgetfulness can lead to many potential problems, such as getting lost or leaving the stove on.
Mood changes are always a worrying sign regardless of age, but it could signify a health problem in aging relatives. Mood changes are also worrying because they often signify problems with mental health, particularly if the individual becomes withdrawn and will frequently cancel plans.
No Social Life
Isolation and loneliness are very common in seniors, particularly those that live alone. This is problematic as it is bad for their mental health and can lead to them becoming very withdrawn and disconnected from the world. Obviously, seeing family is helpful, but it is beneficial if they have their own social lives, which they may have through friends, clubs, hobbies, or volunteering.
Reluctant to Go Out
Following this point, if they never want to go out and avoid social interactions, then this is another indication that they need help. Often in situations like this, senior living communities are helpful because they can help an individual retain independence and privacy and have a strong sense of community and the opportunity for regular social interaction with other seniors. Additionally, residents can get assistance with areas that they might be struggling with and care if required. This is obviously a big decision and can be a tricky sell, but if you visit the website for Frontier Management, you can research and see how it could be so beneficial for an elderly relative that needs support.
This post will hopefully help you identify when an elderly relative needs support and allow you to find the best way to help them.