1. A RECENT HOSPITALIZATION.
After being discharged from the hospital, certain medical conditions - such as a recent stroke or broken bones from a fall - may lead to lead to chronic health conditions that require readmission to the hospital, or 24-hour care.
2. A GREATER SENSE OF SECLUSION.
If an elderly relative was once outgoing, but no longer wishes to be social or go out in public, this could be a sign of depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects 13.5% of older adults who require home healthcare, and 11.5% in older hospital patients. Older adults are at risk of misdiagnosis and lack of treatment because symptoms can also be mistakenly attributed to other illnesses, medications, or life changes.
3. A BEHAVIORAL PERSONALITY CHANGE.
The changes that many older adults experience in the aging process can lead to a loss of self-esteem and they may lose a clear image of who they are at this time in their lives. An elderly relative who exhibits major changes in personality - such as a former extrovert who has become socially isolated, or an easygoing person who exhibits swearing, aggressive behavior, hitting, crying or frustration – could need ongoing monitoring and treatment provided by elder care professionals.
4. A STRUGGLE WITH MEDICATIONS.
For older adults medications can be a the key to good or improved health. But if the skip a dose or mistakenly take too much, the results can be deadly. Medication problems are widespread. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 55 percent of the elderly are "non-compliant" with their prescription drugs orders, meaning they don't take the medication according to the doctor's orders. In addition, approximately 200,000 older adults are hospitalized annually due to adverse drug reactionsAn elderly person who cannot remember the dosages and times to take medications, or confuses different prescriptions, may need the assistance of elder care professionals who can manage their prescriptions and dosages.
5. A RECENT FALL.
Perhaps more than other symptom, a recent fall may indicate that an elderly person’s functional ability is becoming compromised, and much more dependent rather than independent. More than one-third of older adults with minor head trauma caused by a fall will need to return to the emergency room within 90 days after discharge, claims a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 2.5 million older adults are sent to emergency departments nationwide due to injuries sustained from falls.
6. AN EATING ISSUE OR A CHANGE IN WEIGHT.
Elder care professionals can determine whether an elderly person's weight loss or lack of interest in food results from depression or emotional problems - or simpler problems such as tooth or digestive pain. Meanwhile, weight gain can be a risk factor for disability in older adults.
Living alone, health problems and disability, sensory impairment such as hearing loss, and major life events such as loss of a spouse have all been identified as risk factors for social isolation and loneliness. If an elderly person suddenly shows little interest in previously social activities, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition - such as arthritis that may prevent the person from playing cards.
8. CONSTANT PAIN.
Chronic pain becomes increasingly prevalent as we age. In many cases, the lack the ability to manage pain properly by themselves signals the need for more all-inclusive care.
9. POOR HYGIENE.
An elderly person who suddenly exhibits poor hygiene and a lack of hygiene habits can be suffering from depression, dementia or impaired mental status - and need diagnosis and monitoring by elder mental health care professionals.
10. YOU ARE STRESSED.
If you are stressed out as a caregiver for an elderly person - and find yourself snapping at people, or feeing frustrated, overwhelmed and anxious - then you may need to seek assistance from elder care professionals who have the time and training to deal with the inherent challenges in elder health care.
Do any of these factors seem familiar to you?
HELP IS AVAILABLE!
It can be a difficult to come to terms with the fact that a loved one may need long-term care. But take heart! There are programs that can help ease your burden, and that can help your loved one to continue to live a healthier and more fulfilled life in the comfort of their home and the familiarity of their community.