Six Signs That Your Loved One May Need Help

December 9, 2021

As we head into the holiday season, families around the country are traveling to see loved ones. Elderly parents, aunts, and uncles are often the first place we visit during the holidays, and unfortunately it can bring attention to the fact things may not be okay.

Does this Sound familiar?

You are visiting for the holidays and asking your loved one if they need help. You are given the typical response of “No we are doing just fine.”

Yet something inside you is saying that may not be the case. That gut feeling may just be your protective instincts kicking in, but it could also be your intuition telling you that something is in fact wrong.

If you are unsure of an elderly loved one’s well-being during a visit this holiday season, here are six things you can look at to REALLY know if they need help:

Take a look around the kitchen when you get a chance. Are there any burned pots and pans? Anything scorched from possibly leaving it on the stovetop too long? These could be a sign of dementia, and a signal that they need help with their day-to-day cooking.

Moreover, lots of clutter around countertops could indicate mobility issues that haven’t been addressed, posing significant risk if you don’t act.

While you’re in the kitchen, be sure to look in the fridge as this often comes signs there are some issues.

Are there foods in there are out of date? While Everyone has expired items in their fridge and pantry, you’re looking for moldy foods that have clearly been forgotten. The more out of date produce and lack of fresh food could be a sign they need help.

Good nutrition is essential for a healthy lifestyle, becoming especially important as we age.

Cleanliness applies to both their home and personal hygiene. For example, how does your loved one look? Are their fingernails cleaned/trimmed? Has their hair become unkept? Are you noticing unpleasant body odor?

Similarly, look around the home to see how clean the place is. Lots of clutter, stains, and odd smells could also suggest things are not all right.

Poor cleanliness is often the first sign of physical or mental problems, so don’t overlook these if you start noticing the signs.

Check out the laundry room. Why? Does it smell like someone had an accident? Sorry to be blunt here, but it can really tell you if they are able to manage their personal needs and if they may need additional help.

Sadly, they may feel too embarrassed to talk about these problems, which is certainly understandable. Still, it’s a huge warning that they may be struggling and require assistance going forward.

Do you see stick notes everywhere? We all love sticky notes, but when they are EVERYWHERE it may be a sign of early dementia.

Your loved one may be trying to remember things, and basic information on sticky notes is a good way to try. The more notes you see, especially those with basic info, the more chance there could be a problem with their memory.

Be mindful of this, and you can use this as a delicate entry into additional conversation.

This is a big one and something that needs to be taken very seriously. Take a look at their meds. Look at the FILL DATE. How many are left based on the fill date?

If there are lots of medication left over from the fill date, it could be a sign they are not taking their meds.

Whether this is an intentional decision or due to memory problems, it is vital that you address this as not taking medications is a huge problem that could lead to serious complications down the line.

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