Signs of needing more assistance

by Better Living & Care Homes on July 24th, 2014

Independence is important to the elderly. Most will do anything they can to make sure they can remain in their own home for as long as they possibly can. There are several indicators, however, that can identify when the time for assistance is near.

Spoiled food – Spoiled food that doesn't get thrown away is a good clue that a person isn't as observant or careful as they once were.

Prescriptions - As a person gets older, they can tend to forget things that normally would be easy to remember. Taking medications on a regular basis is a good example. Carefully look at the number of refills, when the last refill was received, the date of the prescription and how many pills are left. This will tell you if a person has been taking their medication accordingly.

Bruising and Disarray – One of the leading causes of death for elderly individuals is falling. Being unsteady on their feet can cause them to trip or lose their balance. Dizziness is often times a symptom of an illness or condition that requires medical attention. Unexplained bruising, overturned furniture and items that have been knocked off or are out of place, can be the result of a fall.

Unexpected Weight loss – Aging causes changes within the body that can lead to loss of smell and loss of taste. A person's appetite can dwindle causing food to be less and less appealing. Weight loss can also be an indication of serious illness and other health concerns including depression and dementia.

Keep a Close on Their Appearance – When a loved one can no longer groom or bathe themselves, it is time to get them help. Repeatedly wearing the same clothes for several days or forgetting to do laundry are signs that the person may be forgetting basic tasks and needs assistance with daily activities.

Be Mindful of Living Conditions – If a person who normally would take great pride in the appearance of their home suddenly stops taking the time to clean or pick up after themselves, it may mean the physical demands are to taxing on them.

Personality Changes - Illness and adverse reactions to new medications may lead to personality changes in the elderly. A person who was always smiling and happy to see visitors may become sullen or depressed. Attitude changes that are abrupt and out of character may call for a doctor's visit or home evaluation.

When symptoms begin to appear, encourage your loved one to seek medical attention or at least get a physical to see if there are any health changes that could account for the new behavior. A few other signs that could be warning you that your loved one may be in danger of losing their independence includes:

Unpleasant odor from the body, clothing or home (strong smell of urine or spoiled food)Trouble standing up and remaining uprightConfusion during the completion of daily tasksLack of regular hygiene: bathing, showering, use of deodorant, etc.Vehicle accidents, unexplained scratches and dents on their carInability to drive normally or gets lost frequently when going to places they knowNo interest in recreational activities or hobbiesMishandling of finances that includes bounced checks, calls from creditors and late payment notices


When you begin to notice these warnings signs, there are several things you can do to make sure your loved one remains safe and gets the help they need. Above all else, you should always reinforce to your loved one that their well-being is extremely important to you.

Get Medical Attention - When health concerns become a major issue, seeking appropriate medical attention can save your loved ones' life. Ask them if they want you to go with them when they visit the doctor. You can help them understand the doctor's instructions and be with them when they need your support.

Shopping and Preparing Meals – When you take your loved one shopping, look for meals that are easy to prepare with little or no clean up. Cooking and cleaning can become more difficult as a person ages. Prepare foods in advance so that your loved one doesn't have to go to great lengths to prepare a meal. Package appropriate portions and store them in their freezer.Provide Things that Will Keep Them Safe – Offer the assistance they need. Would a cane or walker help them with their unsteadiness? Ask them if they are comfortable and if they need anything you could provide for them. Place things that are too high down within their reach. Make things accessible to them and account for their limitations.



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