Let’s face it, sometimes our older loved ones are masters at hiding their need for additional care. Many of us have spent hours Googling “Signs my loved one needs more care” and that Google search alone likely indicates a need. However, what do we do when our loved one is not checking those obvious boxes? How do we know they may need more care?
Let us begin with the obvious signs your loved one may need some assistance at home. Some of the easier signs to spot are poor hygiene, dishes piling up in the sink, bills stacked up on the counter, and difficulty driving or running their usual errands. But, what about some of the masked signs?
1. Furniture Has Moved
Often those with mobility issues will move furniture closer together to assist them as they try and navigate their home. While furniture is sturdy, it is not safe to be used for moving around. If you notice your loved one has done some rearranging, this may be a key indicator they need some help getting around the house.
2.Friends Have Faded
Especially during a pandemic, maintaining a social life is difficult. However as humans, we are drawn to and require connection. If you notice that your loved one is no longer writing their friends or family, or simply seems to have no desire to socialize, they may be suffering in silence and need companion care. Companion care can greatly impact the mental wellbeing of a loved one.
3. Irregular Schedule
We all understand that this pandemic has adjusted schedules – more time at home usually means later nights and lazier mornings. However, have you tried to reach your aging loved one midmorning and been unsuccessful? This could be a clear sign that they need someone around their home to help them maintain a regular schedule. Even as we age, it is important to have a consistent schedule. Older adults often feel their reason to get out of bed has faded after retirement and this can lead to a rapid decline in health.
4. Medication is Missing or Flying Off the Shelf
While this may seem like an obvious sign, it can be life changing. I personally have found errant capsules or tablets on the floor in the kitchen of my loved ones. They might have dropped it and couldn’t see where it went or couldn’t get on the floor to explore where it went. But I had to assume that they might not have even noticed the medication was missing. Many older adults take medication daily, and those fortunate enough to not need daily medication will require symptomatic relief as headaches, or common colds arise. If your loved one seems to never refill their prescriptions or is regularly asking for a new bottle of over-the-counter medication, they likely need some sort of medication management care. There are many problems that can arise when an individual’s medications are mismanaged. Don’t ignore this sign, proper medication management can be life changing.
Get the care you need for the ones you love, so they can live their very best lives. If you notice a change in your loved one, contact their physician and also seek and Elder Law Attorney to assist you with this transition.
At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law our Life Care Planning Team can be the eyes and ears you need to ensure your loved one’s needs are being met. We provide a holistic approach to the legal, health, economic and social issues associated with getting older and help protect your loved ones and assets with advocacy and compassion. We would be honored to serve your family.