How do you know when it’s time to begin a conversation about arranging long term care placement/personal care for a family member? Did you notice any of these clues when you last visited a loved one?
7 Signs a Senior Has Difficulty with Self-Care
When family members visit a senior, they should always keep an eye out for clues that indicate that they might not be getting the care needed.
Expired or excessive food and untouched beverages
Eating alone can be depressing for a senior. Expired food might build up in the fridge. A senior could turn to eat the same simple meal every day. Not drinking enough fluids also is common, and dehydration can wreak havoc on health.
Neglected medical care
Caregivers should check a senior’s medicines and pillboxes. If pillbox slots for past days of the week still contain pills, the senior might be forgetting this important part of her routine. Do medication bottles have too many or too few pills for the month? Have you found pills on the floor? With failing eyesight or coordination, pills can be dropped and forgotten, presenting a danger to pets and children. Are doctor appointments being missed or information from those visits forgotten? Neglecting medical care can lead
to dangerous results for a senior and problems for those around them.
Dings and scratches on the car
When your loved one drives, can they do so safely? Are there signs that it might be time for a vision checkup?
Are home repairs falling behind? Is the housekeeping being neglected? A lack of basic home maintenance could be a sign that there’s a deeper issue to address.
Is the senior wearing the same clothes repeatedly? Have they stopped doing their hair, taking care of their fingernails, or bathing? These might be signs that more personal caregiving is required.
Mail is piled up, bills aren’t paid
Have you noticed stacks of unopened mail throughout the home? Are bill collectors calling?
Pet care issues
Is the dog or cat bowl always empty? Is the yard full of pet waste? If the senior’s pet isn’t receiving adequate care, it might signal a serious concern.
Taking Early Action
If the clues are mounting, act early. Many people wait for a major issue to develop, but once a senior has broken a hip or experienced significant memory issues, their options become much more limited. Choosing a long-term care facility or assisted living option before a negative life event occurs opens the door for a senior to connect with a community, build relationships, and discover his interests and preferences while he still has the ability to explore.
Approaching the Conversation with Care
The goal of long-term care or an assisted living is to help seniors maintain as much independence as possible while ensuring that safety and self-care concerns are addressed. Surrounded by a community in a space that allows for personal privacy, a senior can choose the lifestyle they want without sacrificing their needs. Exploring options early also can help protect a parent-child relationship. They can be 100 percent a daughter and a son while not worrying about appointments, pills, or if mom or dad is leaving the oven on. Instead, when a child comes to visit a parent, the time can be spent on making memories and spending quality time together.
The first step for family members, is to share concerns and schedule a visit to a few assisted-living or long-term care facilities. Consider not just the beauty of a space but the sense of community and culture. Speak with people who live there about how they came to choose that community. Find out when the longest-serving employee started working there. If the employees are happy there, you know the residents will be happy there.