5 Signs An Aging Loved One Needs Help

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Families that reach out to us for assistance with an aging loved one’s care are usually doing so in a time of crisis. There’s been an emergency that requires immediate intervention. Maybe it was a serious fall, a severe car accident, or a decline due to a chronic illness like Dementia, a neurological disorder, or other health issues.

In these stressful moments, complex decisions often need to be made very quickly, and families are not always sure what their best options are. Our dedicated and experienced Bridgeway Care Management & Home Care team can handle these challenges, and we are available 24/7 to start work right away in a time of crisis.

What we’ve learned through the years is that an age-related crisis rarely “comes out of nowhere.” In creating individualized care plans for our clients, our Bridgeway Care Managers perform a thorough review of the full medical history, living environment, and interview family members who are involved in the care of their aging loved one. Looking back, it often becomes clear that the crisis could have been diverted. The signs were present, but for whatever reason action was not taken.

As we stress to each of our clients, being proactive is key to achieving the best possible results in eldercare. It not only greatly reduces the risk of crisis, but it allows seniors to ensure that their age-related care wishes are understood prior to important decisions needing to be made.

Below are 5 signs that an aging loved one needs help in order to create the safe, independent and dignified life he or she wishes and deserves.

  1. Appearance Changes

Did your aging loved one once take great pride in his or her grooming habits — i.e. regular haircuts, hair appointments, shaving, bathing etc. — and is now no longer making time for these appointments or self-care rituals? Has he or she lost weight?

An appearance change by your aging loved one is one of the most common signs that he or she is in need of additional support or a higher level of care. You might find that your loved one seems to be wearing the same clothes all the time. His or her clothes may also be wrinkled or soiled. Often times, this is combined with his or her overall appearance become unkempt.

  1. Forgetfulness and Confusion

It’s easy for family members to chalk up moments of forgetfulness or confusion from their aging loved ones as “normal for their age” or the result of “a hard day,” but it’s important that family members understand what is age appropriate and what is concerning behavior.

For example, it’s normal to forget where you left your keys. It’s not normal to forget what your keys are used for. It’s also normal to forget what day it is, but being unable to recall the season, the year, or the sitting president is of concern. Another sign that an aging loved one needs immediate support is when they start asking about family members who have passed away or rely on others to answer questions for them.

When family members tell us, “Yes, Mom’s a little forgetful here or there, but nothing has happened yet.” That’s the perfect time to introduce support, because something is going to eventually happen.

  1. Calling Frequently or at Odd Times

Changes in communication schedule or a lack of clarity in communication are key signs that your aging loved one may require professional care. Maybe Dad used to only call in the evening, and now he’s calling early in the morning or in the middle of the night. Or maybe he used to call every few days, and now he’s calling multiple times a day with no recollection of prior calls.

Perhaps your aging loved one is asking the same questions over and over? These are all indications that assistance is needed.

  1. Everyday Tasks Are Going Undone

Is there an unopened stack of mail on the kitchen table? Is there spoiled food in the fridge, or no food to eat at all? Many seniors don’t want to ask for help with daily chores that have become too much for them to handle. In some cases, it may be due to a fear that their family will be alerted to the changes they are experiencing and may recommend different living arrangements.

Sometimes a care facility is the best option, but many people prefer to remain in their home as long as possible. At Bridgeway Care Management and Home Care, we can facilitate any changes and take great pride in working with the family so that seniors can remain safely in their homes.

It is very common for seniors to be resistant toward having a professional caregiver in their home that can provide transportation, pick up medications, prepare meals, and assist with shopping and bathing. Overtime, seniors come to enjoy the peace of mind of having someone assist them with daily tasks. It allows them to fully enjoy their homes, as well as their time with friends and family in their homes.

  1. Missing Medical Appointments, Calling Doctors Frequently

Have you received a call from a doctor’s office telling you that Mom or Dad is missing appointments, cancelling appointments, or calling the doctor’s office frequently? This is another sign that your aging loved one needs additional support.

As health issues become more complex, it becomes important that another person is present to act as a liaison between doctor and patient. Our Bridgeway Care Managers are trained to handle the most complex medical situations, and they are available to help in arranging all appointments and accompany seniors to doctor’s appointments. They can also assist in medication set up and reconciliation while ensuring that all health issues are understood and that the necessary treatments will be implemented.

Don’t hesitate to call Becky Eizen (Certified Senior Advisor, Certified Dementia Practitioner, MBA) at Bridgeway Care Management & Home Care at (248) 702-6510 to take the first step in creating a care plan that will support your aging loved ones in living safe, healthy, and independent lives.

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You can also email Becky with any questions at beizen@bridgewaycare.net

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