It is worth celebrating that Canadians are living longer today than ever before. The senior years of life hold wonderful rewards and experiences- and they also come with their own unique set of challenges. As a natural result of aging, many people will eventually need some level of help with daily living. You may be wondering if your parent or loved one has reached a stage where they would benefit from assistance of some kind. How can you tell if your relative needs support, especially if they’re not the type of person to mention struggles or to ask for help?
There are a number of important signs that you and your family members can watch for – these can help you determine if your loved one has begun to need assistance in their daily life. The following is a list of 5 indicators to guide you in identifying if your relative needs support, and discovering specific areas where care may be needed:
1. Food and Nutrition
Take note of your loved one’s daily eating habits. Are they eating a variety of healthy foods? Do they eat at regular meal times? Are there any expired foods in the cupboards or refrigerator? Do they look like they may have lost some weight? These signs can indicate that your loved one needs help to ensure that they’re eating well-balanced meals on a regular schedule. It could also mean that daily tasks such as preparing food and grocery shopping are becoming overly challenging for them.
Is your relative able to stay on top of their medications, taking the proper dosages at the right frequency? Their local pharmacist can help you in filling out this picture; the pharmacist will have a record of their medications, and whether prescriptions are refilled on schedule. Missed prescriptions or irregular use of medicine can be a sign that your loved one needs help in keeping on track with their medicine to support their continued health.
Have you noticed that they tend to wear the same clothes day after day? Do they dress appropriately for the weather? Their clothing habits can help you to see if they may need support in maintaining these daily habits.
4. Grooming and Hygiene
Grooming habits such as hair brushing, showering and teeth cleaning might not be happening on a daily basis. If you or your family members notice any issues with your loved one’s appearance or body odour, this may indicate infrequent bathing and the need for assistance with daily hygiene practices.
Does your loved one regularly express fearful feelings and or call you frequently, especially at night? It may mean they’re experiencing social isolation or feeling overly anxious, and that it’s time for support in their living and social environment.
It’s only natural that close family members are often the first ones to notice when a relative begins to need help in daily living. You know your loved one best, and can pick up on subtle signs that others might miss. Your sensitivity and attention to these details will help both you and your loved one recognize when and in which areas support is needed.
If you’ve noticed just one of the above signs, it may not be time for assistance just yet. Evaluating the severity and frequency of the issue can help determine if a relative is in need of assistance. On the other hand, if you have concerns in a number of the areas listed above, it may be time to begin exploring which care option will best support your loved one in continuing to live a full and thriving life.