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The days around Passover are exciting and busy, as families get ready to celebrate together. If amidst the celebration you’re worrying about the safety of a senior loved one living at home alone, holiday visits provide an opportunity to check in on their safety and well-being.
Check For The Warning Signs
Seniors living alone may not tell you that they need help. They may be afraid of losing their independence or afraid of becoming a burden to their families. Or, they may be in denial.
You can check for the warning signs that a senior may no longer be safe at home by answering these questions.
The answers to these questions can help you determine whether it may be time to consider extra assistance in the home or a move to a senior living community.
How do they look?
Notice your loved one’s clothing and grooming. Poor clothing choice and lack of attention to grooming can be indicators of a change in mental state, such as depression or memory loss, or that basic tasks like self-care and laundry are becoming physically difficult.
Be sure to watch how your loved one moves through their home. Are they unsteady when navigating narrow hallways or staircases? Are they having difficulty getting into or out of chairs? Unsteadiness and mobility challenges contribute to falls and injuries.
What is the condition of the home?
Stacks of mail, a sudden increase in clutter, and unpleasant odors can be indicators that a loved one is having difficulty looking after the home. If your loved one is still driving, check the condition of the car. New dings and dents can be evidence of unsafe driving.
Around the home, look for unfilled prescriptions or expired medication. Medication errors are one of the leading causes of hospital admission for seniors.
Is there good food in the house?
If you’re concerned that your loved one isn’t eating well – especially if they have lost weight – check the cabinets and refrigerator. If the cupboard is bare or full of food that has been there since last Passover, your loved one may be relying on fast foods and convenience foods for sustenance. Poor nutrition can be an indicator of difficulty preparing food or a change in mental state, and puts seniors at a higher risk for age related illnesses.
How is the conversation?
Above all else, talk to your loved ones. Talk about activities they enjoy and note if your loved one has withdrawn from these activities. A seeming lack of interest can stem from depression, or cognitive or physical challenges participating in activities.
Notice the flow of the conversation as well. Do they seem to trail off or forget common words? These can be signs of mental changes related to dementia, or side effects of medications.
Solutions for Senior Safety
Fortunately, there are more options than ever for seniors who wish to remain independent, from part-time assistance in the home to a move to a senior living community. The variety of options available now can allow seniors to maintain their independence with fewer worries – for themselves and their families.
FountainView at College Road is a glatt kosher senior living community in Rockland County, NY.