It's only natural that you want your Loved One to age at home in comfort and independence. Nobody ever wants to go to a Nursing Home Facility if they can help it!
If your Loved One is aging at home, it is important to keep an eye out for the following signs to ensure that they will continue to be safe and well as they live in their home.
1. Rapid Weight Loss or Weight Gain
A change in weight of greater than 10% may indicate:
a. A loss of interest in food due to changing appetite. This may be a normal part of aging but also may be a symptom of a condition;
b. A difficulty in preparing food due to cognitive decline.
c. Forgetfulness by forgetting to eat meals, prepare meals or shop for ingredients;
d. A loss of ability to drive to the supermarket to buy food;
e. Poor nutrition from eating convenience fast foods;
f. A cognitive condition such as dementia may have injured the part of the brain that controls eating.
2. Poor personal hygiene
Examples of poor personal hygiene from a lack of attention to appearance such as:
a. not showering each day;
b. hair not brushed;
c. unwashed body parts;
d. wearing the same clothes each day;
e. a strong body odor;
f. a strong smell of urine or faeces; or
g. fecal smearing on clothes or through the home.
Poor hygiene commonly causes urinary tract infections (UTI’s) which, if left untreated, increases confusion and other dementia and delirium like symptoms.
Severe UTI’s can cause hospitalisation. The infection can even spread to the blood and cause septicemia and death, so it’s important to treat a UTI quickly. They are rapidly and easily treated with prescription antibiotics.
3. Increased isolation and withdrawal
Familiar tasks might have become more difficult:
a. to start or complete;
b. to orientate oneself within the community;
c. finding words is more difficult;
d. increased forgetfulness or confusion may encourage your Loved One to withdraw socially in an attempt to hide these symptoms or to avoid the perception of being humiliated; and
e. increased desire to stay in their own home where they feel safest.
4. Going for a walk and losing way home (wandering)
a. Neighbours may call to say that your Loved One is walking down the middle of the road which is very dangerous; or
b. Neighbors or Police may call to say your Loved One is at a Police Station or lost a few suburbs away.
5. Driving issues
a. The Police or neighbors may ring to say your Loved One has had their car “stolen” when in fact they have forgotten they no longer drive, their car has been removed from the house or they are looking for their car in the wrong section of the Shopping Mall Car Park; or
b. Your Loved One, whose car has always been well kept, has scratches or dents and he/she is regularly losing their keys.
6. An out of character messy home
a. A normally ‘house proud’ older person’s home has become unkempt, cluttered, has an odour, garbage is piled up and not being put outside, unwashed dishes piled high, or the washing is not done.
7. Behavioral changes
a. Increased anxiety including repetitively calling family members for reassurance that everything is ok;
b. Increased paranoia / delusions / hallucinations;
c. Increased feeling of depression.
If you are noticing any of these signs in your Loved One, don't risk their health or happiness. Call us on 1300 85 40 80 and we can provide a Free home based consultation and Care Plan that will ensure they continue to live at home safely and comfortably for as long as possible.
For more Home Care and Nursing related information, visit us at ww.thecareside.com.au.