In the course of my work with the elderly, I have found that I am often asked for advice from family members on what red flags they should be looking for that would indicate that their loved ones need help. I feel it is very important for concerned family members to know these signs so that their loved ones receive the care that they need, so I have provided below the vital, main things to look for!
1. Medications scattered all over house, multiple containers of the same medications still full, missed doses, can’t remember when they last took their medications, mistakes such as overdosing or interactions resulting in health concerns, if not hospitalizations.
2. Unexplained weight loss, outdated food in the refrigerator, not preparing meals, or missing them completely; Poor selection of food or lots of take out containers and in some cases very little or no food in the cabinets.
3. Bills and important documents are not put away in appropriate places and left lying around. Bills not being paid.
4. Not knowing what to do in an emergency, for example when you verbally ask “what would you do if there was a fire” they are unable to tell you. Other things like leaving the stove on, burn holes in the carpet and not being able to make sound decisions that will most likely cause harm to them self or others.
5. Wearing the same clothes over and over, either urine or body odor, long, dirty nails, not shaving, not washing hair and just a general decline of their personal hygiene.
6. Patient becomes lost in familiar areas. Car has unexplained dents and scratches, driving safely becomes an issue, citations that you find in the patients house.
7. Walking unsteady, furniture walking where they are holding on to chairs, table to maintain their balance, unexplained bruises or scratches that could have occurred from a fall they do not want you to know about, Getting in and out of their home is becoming difficult, they start sleeping in a recliner as the stairs to go to their bed room becomes difficult.
8. Depression, Sleeping for long periods of time, no appetite, no interest in hobbies they previous enjoyed. Please seek help straight away. Go to their Doctor and get a referral if need be. One of the leading causes of suicide among the elderly is depression common risk factors: Death of a spouse or loved one, loneliness, illness, fear of not being able to take care of themselves. White men over the age of 85 are at greatest risk with a suicide rate of 48.4 per 1000.000.
9. House hold repairs and maintenance neglected, Lawn not mowed, trash piled up in and outside of house, unpleasant odors.
I hope these tips will help you in caring and protecting your elderly loved ones! If you find that you’ve seen these signs in your loved ones and feel that they may need extra assistance, Please contact us at Celtic Angels Inc. and let our home health angels provide the best care for you!