Seniors living on their own may not be willing to admit that the tasks of daily living are becoming difficult to complete. Seniors hesitate to ask for help for fear that it will compromise their independence. They may dread asking for assistance because they know it will result in an overreaction from adult children. The last thing a senior wants is to trigger the “What do we do know? Mom can’t live alone.” conversation.
If it becomes obvious that the senior needs assistance, the first step should be exploring in-home care. Moving a senior from familiar surroundings should never be the first action, except in dire circumstances.
How can one determine if a senior needs help but is unwilling to admit it? Here are 10 signs that a senior may need in-home care.
Telltale signs may become noticeable in a senior’s appearance.
- 1. Look for bruises that go unexplained; bruising can signify a difficulty in balance and walking, leading to falls.
- 2. Observe the ease or difficulty with which a senior rises from a sitting position. (This indicates leg strength and balance.)
- 3. Weight loss. A poor diet will contribute to weight loss. Signs of depression and/or forgetfulness are also indicators of a poor diet.
- 4. If an unpleasant odor emanates from an older person, this can be due to a lack of bathing. Personal hygiene can become increasingly difficult with age, and it can be humiliating to ask for help with bathing.
- 5. The difficulty with personal hygiene will extend to the household itself. There can be spoiled food left in the fridge, the house may be in unusual disarray, or bills and newspapers may pile up.
Living alone in old age can easily lead to isolation. An older person may not be able to get out as easily as they used to. Family members are busy and can’t help as much as they would like to. Depression is common among the elderly. The following can be signs and symptoms of depression when they are different from the senior’s usual behavior:
- 6. A lack of interest in hobbies.
- 7. Seniors may display mood swings, suddenly and without warning.
- 8. They may begin to miss important appointments.
- 9. They exhibit apathy toward paying bills, which can also be a sign of Alzheimer’s
- 10. Forgetfulness, or confusion with once-familiar tasks should not be dismissed lightly,
especially if it occurs on multiple occasions
When confronting a senior about their apparent need of assistance in the home, a loved one may be answered with something like, “Everything is fine. I don’t need any help.” It can be difficult to impose help on someone who is not looking for it. Be patient, continue the conversation and slowly make sure that the senior receives all the assistance that is required for continued health and happiness.