Signs An Elderly Relative May Not Be Able To Live Alone

Signs An Elderly Relative May Not Be Able To Live Alone

Posted on April 11, 2014 by ElderCare Resources Phoenix in Blog, Caregiver Education, Education, Geriatric Care Management, Home Care Non-Medical, Independent Living

By Freda R. Savana

It can be difficult to tell the difference between normal, age-related decline and something more serious, but there are ways a loved one can tell if elderly relatives or friends are having trouble living on their own, according to geriatric experts.

1. Missed appointments: Failing to meet a friend or go to a doctor’s appointment without canceling in advance may be a sign of declining health.

2. Maintaining hygiene: Pay attention to body odor, grooming, incontinence and dressing for the season.

3. Easily disoriented: A failure to recognize familiar spaces, wandering, or getting lost in well-known areas are early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Loss of memory: Forgetting something at the store is a sign of benign memory loss. Forgetting something at the store and not remembering that you did when someone reminds you of it is malignant memory loss, or pathological memory impairment and bears a closer look.

5. Word problems: Not being able to recall a common word for something, or repeating oneself can be a symptom of dementia or mental illness.

6. Random check-writing: Sending money to previously unknown “charities” or other out-of-the-blue expenditures can signal an inability to exercise appropriate judgment.

7. Physical aggression: A senior who attacks others because they’re believed to pose a threat shows an inability to control or properly channel feelings of distress.

8. Making inaccurate assertions: Signs of dementia may include “psychotic ideation,” in which clearly untrue statements are made, such as “They’re talking about me on TV,” or “I saw three men in my bedroom last night.”

9. Unopened mail: Watch for unpaid bills or other neglected household duties.

10. Spoiled food: Food left unrefrigerated or kept around long after its “sell by” date has passed can indicate mental instability.

11. Poor nutrition: Pay attention to weight loss.

12. Scorched pans: These may indicate the inability to cook safely, and could pose a bigger fire hazard.

13. Mystery bruises: Unexplained injuries.

14. Car damage: Look for dents and scrapes that cannot be explained or which the driver doesn’t recall getting. Be sure to ride with your family member to determine whether he or she is a safe driver.

Published:  The Intelligencer

Source: A Place for Mom, a national elder care referral service