Have you been noticing odd behavior when checking in on an aging parent, friend or relative? Did you chalk it up to the fact that they were legitimately upset, getting the flu, or just plain tired? Are you worried that this is happening more often than it used to, and that it’s going to happen again?
If you’ve seen warning signs that your loved one may need more help than you are able to provide, there’s no better time to start looking into the many alternative support options. This is a complicated, stressful and delicate time for all involved, and the decision is not easy.
How do you know when to move your loved one to assisted living or another type of care facility? (Differences between Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living Facility)
Here are some things to look out for.
Consistently Slow Recovery
The last time your loved one was ill, did they recover fairly quickly, or did it take several visits to the doctor or hospital? Does it seem like they are constantly fighting colds, the flu, or infections? Has there been an extra-long stay in the hospital after a fall?
Slow recovery is one of the first indications that someone may need ongoing care.
If you are checking in on a loved one regularly, be sure to check around the home and garden for evidence of rotting food, unkempt gardens, unusual smells, extra clutter, and a general sense of untidiness. These are usually telltale signs that a person is losing their mental or physical capacity to do their regular daily tasks.
Weight Loss or Gain
Unusual weight loss or gain is typically a sign that there is something deeper going on. Your loved one may be missing meals because they are unable to cook for himself or herself, or forgetting to eat all together.
Conversely, if they are normally very active and are becoming more limited due to mobility issues, this may lead to changes in energy levels and resulting physical fluctuations. It may also be connected to a lack of social or cognitive activity, lack of interest, and depression.
Physical & Behavioral Changes
It is especially important to be extra observant when you are visiting your loved one.
Keep an eye out for unusual physical changes such as:
- Unusually low energy
- Unable to lift, stand, or sit easily
- Lack of coordination
- Mood swings
If you are a primary caregiver, you may want to consider applying to be the power of attorney for your loved one, in order to ensure that their financials are in order. Once you do this, you can better manage their financial situation.
Some signs that they need financial support include:
- Unpaid bills
- Overdrawn accounts
- Unusually high charitable donations (that they can’t afford)
- Final notices
- Letters from insurance companies
- Messages from collectors
As a society, we’re not set up to take on the entire burden of caretaking into old age–but fortunately, there are professionals to take this on. While elder care is important, it’s also important to consider your own health and emotional stress levels.
If you think it might be time to consider a change in care for a loved one, have a look at our homes.