Time for Help
Recognizing When It’s Time to Get Help for an Aging Relative
It may be difficult to accept the fact that parents or other aging relatives have reached the point that their safety is at risk if they remain alone or unsupervised. Be on the lookout for these warning signs:
- Mail is not collected regularly. Household bills go unpaid, or are paid late. Bills and important documents are left lying around, not organized or safely put away.
- Household repairs and maintenance are neglected. Yard maintenance, trash disposal and other household chores remain undone.
- Driving safety becomes as issue, with an increase in violations or accidents, getting lost in familiar areas, and decreased visual acuity.
- Poor selection of foodstuffs available in the home. Outdated items are left in refrigerator. Meals are not prepared, go uneaten, or are consumed at irregular times of day.
- Personal hygiene is neglected – hair unkempt, nails unclipped or dirty, poor oral hygiene, smell of urine or body odor, unshaven. Same clothing is worn repeatedly.
- Loss of interest in keeping up with housekeeping chores such as laundry, dishes, general cleaning, or complaints of these chores being too difficult or tiring.
- Health concerns due to losing track of medications – not taking, overdosing, drug interactions.
- Getting up and down stairs becomes difficult. Walking unsteadily on even ground, complaints of dizziness, and potential falls are likely.
- Reluctant to leave home, run errands, visit friends and family. Sleeping for long periods and uninterested in usual hobbies, activities and pastimes.
- Negligence which can cause self-harm or danger to others, such as failure to turn off stove, cigarettes left burning.
- Failure to recognize an emergency situation and following up with an appropriate response.