Self-neglect is often the first sign a senior loved one needs help. Seniors may begin to neglect their personal needs if they can no longer perform the tasks necessary to maintain their health and homes. They may also have depression or other mental health conditions that cause them to lose motivation. These six signs of self-neglect require you to take prompt action to prevent your loved one from falling into further despair.
1. A Disheveled Appearance
By now, you know what your loved one typically looks like. While everyone may have an off day now and then, your loved one should look generally well groomed. A senior who looks or smells bad might have quit bathing. Having greasy, unbrushed hair and wearing the same clothes for days are also signs of self-neglect.
2. An Unkempt Household
Some people like their homes cleaner than others, but there are certain things everyone must do to keep their living spaces hygienic. Taking out the trash, washing dishes, and cleaning the bathrooms are all tasks seniors might stop doing if they become too difficult. This can be a personal subject to discuss, but help with housekeeping is one of the first services many seniors request when they decide to get assistance from home care professionals.
3. Unexplained Weight Loss
Seniors who lose weight rapidly may have just stopped eating well. Your loved one might choose not to cook if he or she is sick or in pain or decide it’s not worth the effort to make a meal for only one person. Rapid and unexplained weight loss should be assessed by a physician to rule out underlying medical conditions. If your loved one receives the all-clear signal from the doctor, you can arrange for someone to help with meal preparation.
Elder care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
4. Decreasing Health
Chronic conditions that suddenly take a turn for the worse could be a sign your loved one is neglecting to follow his or her treatment plan. Signs of self-neglect can also take the form of someone opting not to get a new symptom checked out, or your loved one may have several new injuries that have been ignored. A health advocate is someone who can go with your loved one to appointments to make sure he or she gets treated and follows the plan at home.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Tucson families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
5. Unpaid Bills & Utility Shut-Offs
Self-neglect also shows up in a senior’s finances. Your loved one might stop paying the bills in a timely manner. Stacks of late notices and warnings are never a good sign. If your loved one’s utilities are shut off, he or she could be exposed to extreme temperatures or unsanitary conditions due to a lack of running water.
6. Loss of Interest in Former Hobbies
This is one of the more subtle signs of self-neglect. If your loved one decides to spend entire days sitting in a favorite chair, there’s something wrong. Seniors need rich lives filled with hobbies and opportunities to socialize. Losing interest in hobbies could be a sign of depression, and arranging for your loved one to have a companion may jump-start his or her interest in living a full life again.
For families living in Tucson, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (520) 214-5440 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.