17/07/2017

5 signs your elderly parent needs help at home

Thanks to technology and services like Helpline, today more and more older people are able to live independently and safely in their own homes for longer. We understand that many people have this desire to continue living autonomously into their old age and, for many families, our service provides the welcome peace of mind that allows them to do so. If you frequently find yourself feeling worried about an elderly parent living at home alone, the first step could be as simple as installing a personal alarm. However, this isn’t the right solution for every situation and there are some more serious signs that could indicate your elderly parent isn’t quite coping on their own. Read on to learn five of the biggest elderly SOS signals that suggest your loved one needs help at home.

1. Changes in mental state

Key signs: forgetfulness, losing track of time, loss of interest in hobbies, general confusion

Small changes and the odd day where things deteriorate are quite normal – it could be that your loved one didn’t sleep well or is feeling a bit under the weather. However, severe changes in their mental state can be potentially harmful. For instance, if they forget to turn the oven off or are missing appointments regularly. Carefully monitor your parent or loved one’s mental state over a few weeks before deciding whether it is an elderly SOS signal or not.

2. Changes in mood

Key signs: depression, anger, or sudden mood swings

This one can be particularly hard to deal with, especially as mood changes can be caused by certain types of medication or physical pain. It might be worth attending doctor’s appointments with your parent if you feel as if any medication is causing disruptive side effects. Keep an eye on any new or additional prescriptions – it may be that the medication is not working effectively together. It’s important to try to work out the cause of any mood swings in order to address the problem.

3. Changes in physical state

Key signs: difficulty standing up or walking, unexplained bruises, loss of weight

These are perhaps the most obvious signs that your parent needs help. Frequent and excess bruising on the body usually suggests that the elderly family member is suffering repeated falls. This is usually a clear elderly SOS and may well suggest that, unfortunately, your loved one is no longer safe living in their home. Falls can result in broken bones and other health complications.

4. Changes in personal hygiene

Whilst this is quite a sensitive topic to address, lack of concern for personal appearance or the inability to maintain personal hygiene is often suggestive of other issues and can be another elderly SOS message. If your parent is normally impeccably dressed and you notice a sudden change in their appearance, it may be that they are no longer able to take care of their hygiene independently. It might be worth considering whether this could be related to any mental health changes such as depression. (Read more on recognising the signs of depression in older adults here).

5. Their home is beginning to look neglected

Although this might not be a sign to raise immediate concern, if the issue worsens the house may eventually become unsafe for your parent to live in. Check for uneven and cluttered floors that may cause falls, any signs of damp that could worsen bronchial conditions, and food or perishable items that have been left out and could attract pests. It might also be worth getting a free fire safety check for your parent to make sure all of their fire and carbon monoxide alarms are working correctly.

If you are feeling anxious about an elderly parent or loved one, contact us today. Installing a personal alarm system could be all you need to put your mind at ease. Once installed, you can rest assured knowing that help is always on hand should any incidents arise. Get in touch to find out more. We’ll help find the best solution for both you and your loved one.

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