shutterstock_769618174_8YrNx6wWhen visiting your elderly parents, it's normal to notice a few changes in their behavior. You might observe some forgetfulness and just chalk it up to old age, but sometimes these changes could be indicative of a larger change at work. Some behaviors could be warning signs that they are no longer able to take care of themselves. When this becomes the case, it may be time to consider assisted living options. We know it can be hard to tell when you should be concerned, so we’ve outlined some signs to look out for in your senior loved one.

  1. 1 - Changes in Personal Hygiene

    If you notice your parent is no longer keeping up with their hygiene like they used to, this could be a cause for concern. If they have stopped bathing regularly and have an unpleasant odor, their hair is unkempt or greasy, or their fingernails are too long or dirty, it may be a sign of self-neglect. Self-neglect means your senior may not be capable of performing essential self-care tasks. Some other signs of self-neglect include:

    • Poor management of medications, like missing doses or refusing to take them.
    • Signs of weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration.
    • Not enough food in the house, or food that has gone bad.
    • Unsanitary living conditions.
    • Unopened mail or notices.
    • Utilities that have been shut off or don’t work.

    If you notice these signs in your senior loved one, it may be time to start thinking about professional care options.

  2. 2 - Deteriorating Health

    If your elderly loved one has poor health that seems to be getting worse, it should not be ignored. About 80% of older adults(opens in a new tab) suffer from at least one chronic health condition, and chronic diseases are the leading cause of death among older adults in the United States. Many adult children may try to manage their parent’s declining health on their own, but those with a chronic illness often need daily monitoring and care that a typical, working adult cannot provide while still fulfilling their other daily responsibilities.

    It may be a better idea to put your loved one in the hands of a professional care team. A big part of assisted living is providing medical care and attention to residents. If your parent's health is slipping, it might be time to consider an assisted living facility that can provide them with the care they need.

  3. 3 - Social Isolation

    Social isolation, like self-neglect, is a risk factor for early mortality. Older people who live alone, are hearing impaired, or have mobility problems may become isolated as a result of their circumstances. Seniors may also choose to isolate themselves on purpose, but the result is the same.

    If your parent seems to be withdrawing from social activities and interactions, this could be a sign that they could benefit from assisted living. Seniors in assisted living facilities typically have many opportunities to interact with other residents and staff members, which can help prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  4. 4 - Unsafe Living Conditions

    If you notice your parent's home is in disarray with clutter, their lawn is unkempt, or their living conditions are unsanitary, this could be a sign they are no longer able to take care of their home. A home that borders on uninhabitable is a concern for many reasons. For instance, a cluttered home can increase the risk of a slip or fall. According to the CDC(opens in a new tab), about 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths.

    An unsafe and unkempt home not only becomes a safety concern for the health of your parent living in the home, but it also puts your parent’s home at risk of being burglarized. If the upkeep of their home appears neglected, it may look like no one is living there, or appear as an easy target for home invasions.

    The state of their home can also make it more difficult to receive help from home care services. Certain hazards in a home may prevent caregivers from completing their duties, such as unsanitary conditions with rodents or insects, air pollutants like mold or peeling paint, excessive clutter, and poor lighting.

    If you're worried about your parent's safety or well-being in their home, it might be time to consider an assisted living facility. Assisted living facilities can provide seniors with a safe and clean environment.

  5. 5 - Unable to Manage Daily Tasks

    If your parent is having trouble with activities of daily living, this is a sign they may need some assistance. Some signs that they need help managing daily duties are:

    • Not keeping up with bills - If an older adult continuously misses bill payments, this could be a red flag. This could indicate forgetfulness and memory loss or self-neglect. 
    • Disorganization - Disorganization is another sign to look for, as your parent might have trouble keeping track of their medications or important documents. 
    • Neglecting pet care - Your loved one may also begin to neglect pet care duties. If their pets appear neglected or malnourished, they may not be managing things very well.
    • Trouble driving - If your parent can no longer drive themselves or they fail to keep their appointments, they might require assistance. 

    As seniors age, things like cooking, cleaning, and even getting dressed can become difficult tasks for seniors. If you notice your parent struggling with these things, it might be time to consider an assisted living facility that can help them with their daily needs, or a home care service that can help them keep up with their daily tasks at home.

It can be hard to see your parents become unable to take care of themselves. While it may work for some people to care for their loved ones themselves, some families need a bit more help. Assisted living can help give your senior the care that they need when you cannot. If you have chosen to take care of a parent at home, Gallagher Home Care services can help. We offer in-home personal care services in which our home healthcare providers perform duties such as home safety, housekeeping, private duty care, and more. We also offer respite care to give you a break from time to time and offer a helping hand in caring for your elderly loved one.

Gallagher Home Care is a Medicare-certified home health agency that serves across 8 Pennsylvania counties. Our employees are dedicated to providing exceptional, compassionate care to seniors while allowing them to keep their independence. We provide respite care, companion care, housekeeping, home safety monitoring, and even provide free in-home evaluations for new families. Request an appointment online or call (412) 453-8082 to learn more.