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Living at home: Warning signs may determine when older adult needs assistance

Judi Frye

Watching your senior loved-ones age is never easy. It may be your parent, grandparent, spouse, friend, aunt, uncle, or even a sibling.

Whether we see them daily, weekly, monthly or less frequently, watching them age can be a tough experience.

Often age-related changes in physical and mental ability can be difficult to detect. To help in determining when an older adult may need assistance in the home the Eldercare Locator has compiled a list of 10 warning signs that may indicate that help is needed. Any one of the following behaviors may signify the need to take action.

Has your loved one:

n Changed eating habits, resulting in losing weight, having no appetite, or missing meals?

n Neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes and having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin?

n Neglected their home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation?

n Exhibited inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at all hours?

n Changed relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concerns?

n Had physical problems, such as burns or injury marks, which may result from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?

n Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services?

n Exhibited forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, piling of newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missing appointments?

n Mishandled finances, such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?

n Made unusual purchases, such as buying more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements?

If you have noticed any of these changes, it is also important to inform the older adult's physician of these physical or psychological behavior changes.

Through Living at Home of the Park Rapids Area, adults age 65 and older or their loved ones can get connected with information on local aging resources that offer assistance for aging in place, enabling older adults to continue living independently in their homes and communities. (60 years + for respite services)

For additional information on programs and services for older adults and their caregivers in our area, contact Living at Home at 732-3137.

Living at Home - Your "hub" for finding senior services