Holiday Warning Signs that a Senior Needs Assisted Living

Dear Cassie,

I’ll be heading back to Columbus, Ohio, to visit my mom for the first time since last spring. When I was home then, I was a little concerned that she was struggling to keep up living alone in her home. I’ve asked her about it many times in the months since, but she always tells me she is doing just fine.? I wish I believed it.

My question for you is this: what should I be looking for when I am back at home with my mom? I’m just not sure how to tell if it’s time to talk with her about moving.

Any advice would be really appreciated!

Best Regards,

Darren

Warning Signs a Senior Loved One Needs Help

Dear Darren:

Great question! Sometimes the warning signs a senior is struggling are obvious ones, such as frequent falls or a chronic health condition. But many times, the signs are small ones. These are easy for families, especially those that live far away, to overlook until a crisis occurs.

Here are a few warning signs we suggest families look for to determine just how well an aging loved one is managing things on their own:

  • Change in Appearance: Has a parent?۪s personal appearance declined? Are they bathing as often as they should? A hug can reveal changes in hygiene.  Body odor and a decline in grooming habits are signs an older adult needs help with personal care.

  • Victim of Fraud: Falling victim to a scam or financial fraud is another warning sign. Does your mom seem to be missing money or giving money to people you don?۪t know? Financial mismanagement is something that can be hard to detect unless you have access to her accounts.

  • Messy Home: A change in the way your mom maintains her home can also tell an important tale. Is the home messier than you?۪ve ever seen it? If the refrigerator full of outdated foods?  Does her cookware have dark scorch marks that might indicate she is forgetting about food she?۪s cooking on the stove?

  • Unintended Weight Loss or Gain: Unintentional weight gain or loss can be indicative of a few different problems. Sometimes it is a health issue, while other times, it is because a senior isn?۪t able to drive to the grocery store or prepare meals. Pay attention to those details on your visit.

  • Balance Problems: Also keep an eye on how well your mom navigates her way around her home and yard. Does she seem more sedentary? Is she avoiding using the stairs or reluctant to leave home? These are all warning signs that may indicate she?۪s fearful of falling.

  • Change in Disposition: Has your always-social mom withdrawn from hobbies and friends? Does she seem moody or quick to anger? A change is disposition isn?۪t a typical part of aging.

I hope this helps you make a better assessment of how well your mom is doing, Darren! Please call if you need more advice when you get back in town.

Best Regards,

Cassie Hauber