The need for caregiving is often a tricky subject. In some instances, it’s clear-cut that your ill and aging loved one needs round-the-clock assistance, but in a majority of cases, it’s not as straightforward as it’s supposed to be. Your mom may have forgotten to go to the bank or burnt the steak she’s supposed to have for dinner. You start to think, “Is this just some occasional memory lapse and bad cooking, or does she need help?” Adding to this dilemma is the fact that older adults themselves rarely ask for help. And often, you and your aging loved one is in denial that somebody needs help.
To get past that denial and determine objectively if your relative needs assistance, here are the signs to look out for:
1. Your loved one has changed physically
If you notice that your relative has shrunk in weight or hasn’t been eating healthy recently, you might need to consider outside help. Weight loss among the elderly results from different factors. Loss of appetite is one. As people age, their taste buds and ability to smell change, so your loved one may be losing interest in food already. It’s then important to change up their meals and make it more appealing in terms of taste and aroma.
Getting senior concierge services can help with this problem. Another reason for weight loss is an underlying disease. It’s either a health problem is affecting one’s metabolism or causing the person to be immobile and unable to cook. Aside from weight loss, you should also watch out for changes in sleeping patterns. If they’re dozing off for the entire day and they find it difficult to track time, you may need professional caregivers already.
2. They have neglected personal hygiene
Changes in hygiene also signal that your loved one needs help. If every time you go to their house there’s an unpleasant smell of urine, that would mean they’re not able to keep up with personal care already. They may be suffering from urinary incontinence, and couldn’t clean up after themselves. Unruly hair, untrimmed nails, and decaying teeth are also signs of hygiene slip-ups.
Don’t interpret lack of good hygiene as sheer laziness, though. In most cases, this stems from depression. Older adults experience a lot of drastic life changes, from the death of a spouse and sudden retirement to the news of an illness, so they’re prone to falling to depression and not caring anymore about how they smell or look. If this is the case with your loved one, it’s important for them to have a round-the-clock companion who will not just help them practice good hygiene, but also encourage them during their bad days.
3. They are unable to keep up with household responsibilities
You could see this in different instances — stuff is thrown all over the house, stains at the carpets and the couch, rotten food that remain on the sink for days, overflowing trash cans and mailbox, late payment notices, etc. These can also point to health problems, which keep your loved one from moving around freely. It may also be a manifestation of depression. Whichever the cause is, you should let them consult their doctor and get a home aide so the house chores are guaranteed to be taken care of.
Does your aging mom need help? You may be in denial that they indeed do. If you see the mentioned signs, accept the reality and give your loved one the care they need.