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How to Tell if Your Loved Ones Need Help
Are you traveling home to your family for the holidays? With families visiting loved ones they may not often see throughout the year; the holidays are a perfect time to assess the needs of your loved ones. In an ideal situation, our loved ones will ask for our help if they are having difficulty with common daily tasks.  However, sometimes seniors may be in denial that there is a problem, or they may be afraid to lose their independence.
 
It is important to be observant as you are visiting your older loved ones this holiday season.  Some changes may be barely noticeable, but we have compiled a list of the following areas and things to look for to help determine if your older loved ones need help:
 
Driving
  • Have there been recent accidents, or unexplained dents and scratches in their car?
  • Are they fearful of driving or not able to drive during the night?
Cognitive Problems
  • Is the home left in disrepair and unkempt?
  • Are they missing doctor appointments or forgetting to make them?
  • Are they making mistakes with their medications? Forgetting to take their pills, or taking too much?
  • Is food left cooking on the stove, or do they forget to turn the stove off?
  • Have pots and pans been burned?
  • Are you noticing consistent forgetfulness about where things are, or difficulty recalling names of people, places, or things?
  • Are they getting lost or wandering?
  • Are you noticing difficulty answering questions or finding their words?
 
Physical Decline
Are you noticing any of the following?
  • Signs of frequent falls such as bruising.
  • Trouble standing up from a seated position.
  • “Furniture surfing,” or using furniture in place of a cane or walker.
  • Refusing to use a prescribed cane or walker in the home or on outings.
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite.
  • Sleeping for most of the day.
 
Basic Tasks
  • Foul body odor or not changing clothes.
  • Dirty clothes or dishes piling up.
  • Have neighbors voiced concerns?
  • Inability to take the garbage out.
  • Does the lawn or house need maintenance?
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities they once loved.
  • Are there unusual amounts of spoiled food in their refrigerator?
     
Finances and Mail
  • Is the mail piled up and unopened?
  • Are bills not being paid on time, or missed all together?
  • Do some bills or charges on a statement come from unrecognizable sources?
 
If you are noticing deficits in any of these areas, it might be a good time to have a conversation with your older loved ones about getting some help.  Happier at Home is here to help! Give us a call; we’d be happy to discuss strategies on how to have the conversation with your loved one, how to get the process started, and any other questions you may have. Our goal is to keep your loved ones independent and happier at home.
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