Signs that your Elderly Relative may Need Extra Care

The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging estimated that there were 39.1 million persons aged 65 or older living in the United States in 2009. That may not seem like a lot, but that's about 12.9% of the general population. It's expected that the number will increase to 72.1 million by 2030, an amount that's almost twice the number of elderly people that were in the country in the year 2000. There are millions of adults that are currently thinking about the best way to care for their retired and senior parents, and that number will only increase as the years go on. 

Caring for an elderly loved one can be challenging, especially when you're trying to handle caring for your own spouse and children. It can be difficult to tell whether or not your relative is in need of care when they're very independent and even more difficult if you aren't around to check on them a lot. It's rare for elderly people to tell their kids, friends, or relatives that they need help, so it's up to you to start looking for issues. If you start to notice these signs, then it may to be time to talk about the best way to care for them.

 

An abundance of mail

Anyone can let some mail and bills start to pile up, but if you notice a lot of unopened mail or a stuffed mailbox at your loved one's home, it could indicate a problem. Collecting and opening mail is usually a simple act, but it can become troublesome if you have declining motor skills and less ability to remember things.

Dirty fridges and cabinets

Cluttered or messy houses can be a sign that your elderly relative is in declining health, though some people will manage to keep their homes neat. If you want to see how your loved one is caring for themselves, take a look inside the refrigerators and cabinets. A lot of expired food could be a sign that shopping and cooking has become too difficult for them to do on a regular basis.

Bruises and cuts

Your older family member may have always been a little clumsy, but bruises or cuts could be a sign that there's something wrong. Consistent injuries could signify that they're either repeatedly hurting themselves or that they're having a hard time healing. 

Personal hygiene

Do you notice that your loved one has started to wear stained or wrinkled clothing? Do they not look or smell as clean as they used to? A decline in personal hygiene could mean that they're having trouble taking care of themselves.

What to do

If you notice these signs of declining health in a loved one, you need to start looking into care options. That doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have to put them in an assisted living facility – many people can still live at home with a few changes. You could hire a nurse or helper to check in on them a few times a week, and make sure that they're getting appropriate healthcare. A power lift chair or mobility scooter could also help them get around their home easier.