Warning Signs That a Senior May Need More Help

Socially Withdrawn - Mom has not been getting together with her friends, people she’s known for years.  When I visit, she is lying on the couch and says she just doesn’t want to go out much lately.

Diminished Activities of Daily Living - Dad has been keeping the blinds closed; the house seems so dark. Dishes and food containers clutter the counters.  He appears to be losing weight, is unshaven, and I suspect that he is not showering regularly.   

Inability to Manage Money - Mom’s never been one to be late paying her bills.  When I visit, I find unopened envelopes with past due bills and checks that have not been cashed. She isn’t keeping her ledger as she had been.

Caregiver Stress - Dad and Mom have always gotten along well, but lately, he is having a hard time with Mom’s changing behaviors. Mom doesn’t recognize this and suspects people are trying to steal from them.

Missed Appointments - Mom has forgotten to go to the last few doctor appointments.  When asked, Mom downplays the situation by saying she decided not to go. 

Scorched Pots and Pans - Mom’s always been a great cook. This visit I saw burned pots and pans. When I noticed the battery out of the smoke detector, Mom complained, “Oh, that thing keeps going off, so I took the battery out.”

Unopened Mail and Stacks of Newspapers - Dad has always read the newspaper.  Lately, I’ve noticed a growing pile of “stuff he’s getting around to doing.”

Overly "Helpful" Independent Caregivers - Mom and Dad found a caregiver through a friend.  Now that Dad needs more help at night, she’s inviting my Dad to move into her apartment so “she can take care of him.”

Odd Behaviors - Mom was a stickler for manners and “appropriate behavior.”  Lately, she’s making phone calls at all hours, talking louder than normal.  She complains that someone keeps stealing her TV remote.

Medication Mix-ups - Mom mentioned that her medication “ran out early.”  When I look at the pills, it looked like she was taking two doses of the same medication from two different bottles. There are other pills in unlabeled Tupperware. Mom insists that she has no trouble following her 3 different doctors’ instructions

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