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LETTER: Signs an aging loved one needs help
As the aging population continues to grow, many families are faced with the new responsibility of caring for an elderly loved one.
Often the process of transitioning from the role of a child to the role of caregiver for an adult parent is difficult. Many elderly refuse to admit they need assistance with everyday tasks. Some even struggle with memory loss, often making it difficult for families to recognize the signs that a loved one might need assistance. For instance, they might forget to eat or begin to get lost while driving their typical route home.
As the local physician at Senior LIFE York, I work with a team of professionals who evaluate seniors to determine if they need assistance from a program like ours. One way our team of experts determines if help is needed is by evaluating the person’s ability to complete activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, mobility or toileting. If your aging loved one does any of the following, it could be a sign that he or she needs assistance.
- ER visits: Aging adults who are ignoring basic health often begin to visit the ER for ailments that would be far less serious if caught earlier.
- Dirty clothes or poor hygiene: Some adults might face physical
- challenges with simple tasks such as brushing their teeth or getting dressed. A disheveled appearance might be a sign that help is needed.
- Weight loss: Some aging adults might face difficulty with swallowing food or could begin to choke while eating. Weight loss could be a sign that a loved one is forgetting to eat or might have difficulty eating.
- Withdrawal: Depression is
- serious and is commonly seen in
- older adults. If your family member suffers from crying spells or is not enjoying previously enjoyable
- activities, contact a medical professional.
- Decreasing mobility: If a loved one is using the furniture in their home for assistance while walking, it could be a sign that they are struggling with balance and need assistance.
Overall, deteriorating function and a decrease in independence are key indicators that a family member might need more assistance than they would like to admit. They
might benefit from a Medicare
and Medicaid approved long-term care program such as Senior LIFE York.
DR. BARRY WENTLAND