Melanie (Mel) Sullivan, Ed.D., has been named Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer at Ecumen,...
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As human beings we are hard-wired for independence. But there are times when our independence could benefit from senior care services. Are you seeing any of the following signs?
1. Do you see unusual weight loss?
Losing weight without trying is a sign that something's wrong. It could be a sign of cancer, dementia, depression, or heart disease. Or it also could mean that your loved one is lacking the energy to cook, is unable to grasp the tools needed for cooking, can’t get groceries, or read the labels on products. A consultation with a physician and supportive services can address these issues and lead to solutions.
2. Are your loved ones taking care of themselves?
Are your loved ones keeping up with their usual personal hygiene routines? Are their clothes clean? Not keeping up with daily routines, such as bathing, tooth brushing and other basic grooming, could indicate health problems. Dementia, depression or physical impairments could be to blame.
3. Is one’s home becoming too much of a burden?
Check for signs of your loved ones not maintaining their home. Are the lights working? Is the heat on? Has the well-maintained yard become overgrown? Are there dirty dishes in the sink? Is their home abnormally messy? Significant changes in the way your loved ones do things around the house could provide clues to their health. Scorched pots could mean a parent with dementia is forgetting about dinner cooking on the stove. Neglected housework could mean depression is robbing your parent of the motivation to take care of the home. Light bulbs that haven't been replaced could indicate that physical impairments make it impossible for your loved ones to keep up with the regular maintenance around the house.
4. Are your loved ones having trouble moving around the house?
Pay attention to how your loved ones are walking. Are they reluctant or unable to walk usual distances? Is knee or hip arthritis making it difficult to get around the house? Does they need a cane or walker? Discuss ways to make getting around easier.
5. What is your loved ones’ mood?
Are they happy? Are they actively engaged in activities and interests that provide joy? Are they connecting with people who they enjoy? If not, it’s time to explore the causes of this discontentment and work on solutions. If you see any of the following signs and have questions about home care options, contact a member of our home services team or if you want to explore housing with services, also known as assisted living, we have a wide variety of sites, and team members ready to answer your questions. A full directory is here.