The next time you visit an elderly loved one consider the following:
Their Home Does it look maintained? Is it in disrepair? Is dust accumulating where at one time she was a great housekeeper? Is trash accumulating?
Refrigerator Does it contain adequate food? Is there spoiled food present? Have his eating habits changed? Has she lost weight?
Interaction/Behavior Does she constantly repeat questions? Can he carry on an extended conversation? Does he refuse any suggestion or just agree with everything said?
Forgetfulness Are there stacks of unopened mail or newspapers, unpaid bills, unfilled prescriptions, or missed appointment slips?
Personal Hygiene Is he shaving? Does she shower less frequently, wear dirty clothes, or have neglected teeth? Are there any injuries you can observe?
If you have seen any of these signs it may indicate that your loved one needs help. You can play that role or engage someone else such as geriatric care manager-a trained healthcare professional.
Nancy Carey, RN