Aging is not always a pleasant experience. It is particularly noticeable when there is an elderly parent in the house. As our parents grow old, it is our responsibility to recognise when it becomes dangerous for them to live alone.
However, it is not always obvious when it is an appropriate time to extend help. To some it might feel like crossing a boundary, whereas some elderly might not speak about their difficulties.
Therefore, it is important to look for warning signs that tell you your elderly parents need help. In this article, we will discuss 7 of these signs so you can help your elderly loved ones as soon as possible.
A sudden drop in personal hygiene is a strong indicator that your elderly parent is finding it difficult to look after themself. Examples of poor hygiene are: wearing the same outfit for several days, wearing dirty clothes, skipping baths, and not brushing their teeth.
A drop in hygiene is also linked to a fear of falling in the shower. If this is so, it means your parents are finding it difficult and dangerous to move about.
In other cases, your parents may be feeling low on energy, which is another possible reason behind poor hygiene.
However, you should keep in mind that poor hygiene is not always due to old age. For example, if you note your parents wearing the same outfits everyday or not changing them regularly, it could point towards depression.
In some cases, neglecting hygiene may be because of Alzheimer’s or dementia. So before you attribute poor hygiene to old age and admit your loved one to an aged care facility like Kew Gardens, make sure to consult a doctor, who can share with you ways to improve memory and treat your parent’s Alzheimer’s.
When an elderly person starts forgetting places that were once familiar — the store down the street or a frequently visited marketplace — it is cause for concern.
Our memory declines as we grow old. But, frequently forgetting routes that one has used for a major part of their life is not normal. In fact, getting lost in familiar surroundings is an early sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s and should be discussed with a doctor in order to catch it early.
Aging is accompanied by a gradual decrease in body weight. However, if an elderly suddenly loses weight, it is time to take note.
Sudden weight loss is a strong indicator of an illness or poor diet. Elderly with dementia or Alzeihmer’s can forget to take their meals or forget how to make them. With no one to look after them, these changes manifest as sudden weight loss.
Keeping the house spick and span might not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, sooner or later, almost everyone manages to tidy up.
If you find your elderly parent’s house untidy — unopened stacks of mail, unkempt lawn, unwashed dishes etc. — it is an indicator that they are no longer fit to live alone.
If you notice your eldely parent has cut down their social life as they change from an outgoing personality to shutting themselves in their homes, it is time to act.
Elderly people may prefer to stay at home because going out may be too tiresome for them. However, most people manage to keep a healthy balance. Elderly people who suddenly isolate themselves might be suffering from depression or anxiety. Depression causes them to lose interest in activities, thus keeping them confined to their homes.
Some elderly people prefer to isolate themselves in order to hide their depression because they feel shame or guilt for expressing their low mood.
As we age, our bodily functions slow down and everyday physical tasks start taking a toll on our bodies.
However, with appropriate sleep and rest, elderlies can continue to look after themselves. But if you notice that your parents are tired despite good sleep and rest, it may be a sign of an underlying illness.
Elderly people are prone to many chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions can cause fatigue and may significantly reduce the quality of life of your elderly loved ones.
Also, hearing loss requires the brain to compensate for the loss by working harder to process the information. This extra effort causes stress on the brain which can lead to fatigue. Consider a Lively hearing test to evaluate hearing loss in those advanced in age.
Falls in the elderly are very common. Aging affects coordination and weakens muscles. In addition, many elderly people suffer from chronic conditions and take long-term medications. All of these factors make falls a very common problem for the elderly.
If your parents are facing difficulty moving, lean on things for support, walk slowly, step carefully, or have recently suffered a fall, it is important to extend help.
Falls can cause significant injuries such as fractures. And hip fractures are particularly dangerous for the elderly because of their high mortality rate. So make sure to tackle this issue on an emergency basis.