Holidays are traditionally times when West Hills families spend time together. Because family members often live far apart, holidays may be the only chance adult children and grandchildren have to check on older relatives. Even a quick evaluation of seniors’ living conditions can highlight problems or confirm that aged loved ones can still live independently.
Eldercare specialists recommend looking for specific indicators that point to issues like memory loss, physical limitations, or social isolation. Identifying problems allows families to help elders with everyday living or determine that parents or grandparents may do better in a senior living community.
Changes in Personality and Moods
It can be challenging to gauge the importance of mood and personality changes in the elderly without seeing them regularly. Anyone at any age may become upset, irritated, or even slightly depressed in the face of difficulties. However, taken together, multiple changes could mean that seniors can no longer live independently and need the help provided in an assisted living community.
For example, when an otherwise calm and cheerful older adult is often irritable, loses their temper, or gets confused, they might be developing dementia. Other dementia indicators include anxiety, paranoia, and a tendency to avoid anxiety-producing new experiences. A doctor can provide a definite diagnosis.
An Altered Appearance
A noticeable difference in a senior’s appearance can have various causes. Those differences can range from personal preferences to serious medical complications. For example, a significant weight loss might point to a healthier lifestyle but, taken with other changes, can also indicate memory loss or illness. Elders with dementia may forget to buy food, eat, or find cooking difficult, which can cause weight loss.
There may be problems if the elderly are wearing the same clothes or their clothing is dirty or needs mending. Per AARP, messy hair, poor grooming, and disturbed sleep patterns can also signal psychological or physical issues.
While many of these symptoms point to memory loss, they can also be caused by depression, anxiety, a loss of mobility, or medications. A routine medical checkup will uncover the reasons for a changed appearance and a doctor can suggest changes that allow seniors to continue living independently. If changes in appearance are tied to dementia, families may need to contact professionals who offer assisted living in West Hills, CA.
An Isolated Lifestyle
Family members should also take note if elders have lost contact with friends, are not socializing, and have begun to live in isolation. According to the CDC, isolation among seniors is widespread and an issue that puts them at risk for dementia and medical problems.
Studies show that social isolation increases seniors’ risk of dementia by 50%. It also increases their chances of depression, suicide, stroke, and heart attack. A medical evaluation can rule out or confirm dementia as a contributing cause of isolation, and if it is not the underlying problem, families can take steps to assist seniors.
Relatives may help the elderly find volunteer programs that keep them active and engaged. Organizations like AARP, Area Agencies on Aging, and the National Council on Aging can offer suggestions and find programs to help reduce loneliness.
Signs of Poor Housekeeping
Many times, the first sign of memory issues in the elderly is a change in housekeeping. Families should take note when the homes of otherwise neat, organized parents and grandparents are dirty and messy.
Clutter, hoarding, spoiled food, and stains around the house can all signal memory loss. Burned cookware could mean that the elderly forget they are cooking. Memory issues may also cause them to neglect their outdoor areas, and it’s essential to notice whether prescriptions are being filled.
When problems are caused by illness or immobility, arranging for housekeeping help may solve the problem. But, if a medical exam indicates dementia, elders may need to move to a community that offers assisted living with memory care.
Neglected Bills and Documents
It’s also crucial to explore the reasons why there are piles of unpaid bills or other papers in seniors’ homes. Older adults may forget to attend to paperwork or could it be too confusing to deal with. One way to solve the problem is to hire a financial professional or designate a family member to manage papers and bills.
When progressive memory problems make it difficult for seniors to handle business matters, it is best to make gradual changes if possible rather than abruptly altering their circumstances. For instance, relatives may take over complex finances but leave daily finances to their parents or grandparents by opening a separate bank account they can use for basic needs and cash.
Major holidays not only give families a chance to reconnect but are also an opportunity to check on elderly relatives. Family members may notice signs that seniors are in distress and could be developing memory problems. Signs of dementia include poor housekeeping and grooming, mood and behavior changes, and isolation. Neglected paperwork could also point to problems that include memory loss.