Growing old is a challenge that we all have to face up to, but it is never easy seeing a loved one clearly struggling to maintain their independence, as they display signs of being unable to deal with regular daily tasks.
Staying in the home you are comfortable and familiar with for as long as possible, is always desirable for many people, which is where Long Term Care Services can help with assisted living.
Here is a look at how to spot the signs that a loved one might need to have the lifeline of assisted living, to maintain their current quality of life and cope with their surroundings better.
The major red flag moments
There can be lots of individual incidents and worrying moments where you start to wonder whether a loved one might be struggling to cope with some of life’s challenges, but there also what you could class as some major red flag moments.
These red flag moments are when something happens to them or you notice a change in their behavior or physical capabilities.
One example of a red flag warning sign, would be if a loved one had suffered a recent accident or maybe a close call, where they just managed to escape harm. Accidents can happen to any of us of course, but the odds increase that you could be involved in some sort of incident, like a fender bender, unexplained fall, or maybe a medical scare.
A chronic health condition that appears to be getting worse, is also another strong warning sign that it could well be time to consider the possibility of assisted living
Coping with daily living
Another worrying sign that a loved one might need to be assessed for further help, is when you spot clear signs that they are not coping as well as you would expect with regular daily living tasks.
Independent living means being able to cook for yourself, washing and dressing yourself, and being able to do the laundry and some basic household tasks when required. You also need to be have the capacity to be able to remember when and how much medication you need to take as prescribed.
If you think that a loved one is not coping as well as they used to with a number of these basic tasks, there are a network of professionals, in the form of doctors, social workers and geriatric experts, who can help you find out where they are in terms of coping, which they do by carrying out a functional assessment and other evaluations.
Use your eyes
It is always important to take a good look at your loved one when you see them, especially if you don’t see them every day, so that you can look for any visual signs of deterioration.
Sometimes it needs a bit more than a visual clue and while it is just nice to give a loved one a big hug anyway, that close touch will allow you the opportunity to feel whether they have got a bit thinner or just not as physically robust as they were not so long ago.
There are many medical conditions which can cause weight loss, so keep an eye on their physical condition and look out for any signs of weight-loss or if they seem to be frailer than you remember the last few times you saw them.
Maintaining social connections
It is understandable that social circles are likely to get smaller as you get older, but maintaining a reasonable level of social connections is vital to mental health and promotes safety, through regular contact with others.
If you notice that a loved one is spending more time in isolation and doesn’t leave the house for days at a time, this is clearly not a good sign.
If your loved one used to go to various social gatherings and pursued several hobbies, which they have now curtailed, try to find out the reason for this, as a lack of companionship is commonly associated with depression and heart problems in later life.
Losing your driving license is often a landmark scenario in later life and can make it harder for a loved one to get out and about. On the other hand, if you notice things like a few unexplained dents, you might want to offer to go for a ride with them, to see for yourself if there is cause for concern.
Looking out for a loved one is all about making sure they are safe and well. It can also mean trying to spot the signs that they might be ready for assisted living.
Jamie Bevan is self employed and is carer to his aging parents, dealing with dementia in his father and his Mom having various other health issues too. An only child, Jamie enjoys reading and writing about eldercare; hoping to make the topic less taboo.