If you have an elderly family member and you are concerned about their safety, it is vital to maintain vigilance and keep your eyes open for signs of problems. In this article, our experts suggest a basic list of categories to concentrate on during visits. Remember, most people – especially seniors – will not typically ask for help, even if they are struggling. By routinely spending time at your loved one’s home, you have the opportunity to notice anything that may indicate they need your assistance, or if you need to take further measures to guarantee their security. 

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When checking in on your parents, it is important to be aware of your motivation. Your loved one has not done anything wrong, so you are not looking for reasons to undermine their autonomy if it is not necessary. The only goal should be to  make sure that the people we love are safe, happy and healthy. When your motivation is right, your loved ones won’t feel like they are being attacked. Be sure to observe them with the objective of having a thoughtful conversation about the best ways to move forward. 

Even if your elderly parent is doing well and having no issues, documenting observations about their activities today can help you to pick up on any changes as they grow older.

What Types of Behaviors Are You Looking For?

Physical and Cognitive Health Issues 

If your loved one is having issues with physical or mental health, certain personality changes may indicate a need to provide assistance. 

  • Has your elderly parent been losing weight for no reason? 
  • Do they seem to be growing more frail, or slow in their behaviors?
  • Do they have trouble participating in everyday conversation?
  • Are they exhibiting any new habits or behaviors that may be an effort to hide health problems?
  • Have you noticed that your family member is squinting their eyes more often?
  • Has your loved one been tripping more often than normal?

Transportation and Driving Issues

The ability to drive a vehicle is correlated with personal autonomy. It is challenging for seniors to admit it is time to relinquish this privilege and ask for assistance.

  • Does your parent exhibit the same skill when driving as they always have?
  • When in the car with your parent driving, do you feel safe?
  • Have you seen any new dents or scratches on their car that they haven’t told you about?
  • Has your parent been stopped by the police for their driving, or have they received any minor tickets?

Social Engagement and Relationships

When individuals are depressed, they often self-isolate and may stop participating in important relationships.

  • Does your family member still participate in pastimes they enjoy?
  • Do they stay in contact with friends and family?
  • Is your senior loved one reluctant to leave their residence, even if you drive them?
  • Have they stopped attending meetings, events or activities that were once important to them?

Housekeeping and Everyday Life

Not everyone agrees on housekeeping standards, but a noticeable change in habits may be cause for alarm.

  • When you visit your parent, does their home or apartment look dirtier than normal?
  • Have you noticed a difference in their attitude towards home maintenance?
  • Are their disabled appliances, burnt-out light bulbs, or other deferred maintenance items?
  • Do you notice unopened mail and unpaid bills lying around?
  • Does you loved one have adequate nutritious food in the house?
  • Is there excessive amounts of rotten or expired food present?

Medication Management

Medications can greatly improve quality of life, but mismanagement is often a sign of struggle.

  • When you visit, are there prescription drugs, vitamins, or supplements that you haven’t seen before?
  • Is the medication organized so that it can be administed correctly?
  • Are expired medications kept among current prescriptions?

No one wants to babysit their parents, but sometimes circumstances dictate that we watch them more closely in order to keep them safe. If it is time for your loved one to have more supervision and daily assistance, it may be time to consider assisted living.

The staff at A Banyan Residence is here to answer any questions you may have about our residence and amenities. Call today to schedule a visit.