Mom and Dad are not likely to come right out and say they need some extra help. So it can be difficult for family caregivers to know when to broach the topic of senior living or home health care options. “Adult children often have a limited view of the ins and outs of their parents’ lives,” says Danyel Darger, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Overlook. “A good rule of thumb is to be on the lookout for any changes or uncharacteristic behavior. You could be the one who prevents further risks to your loved one’s health.” Keep reading to learn about signs that family members can look for and the support that is available to older adults at The Overlook’s Enhanced Living program. Warning Signs Your Parent or Loved One Needs Help 1. They are experiencing difficulty completing activities of daily living. Activities of daily living (ADLs) are functions related to personal care like showering, dressing, medication management, standing up from a seated position, and moving around. When a person is unable to perform one or more of these activities independently, they have limitations that may require a home health caregiver or care at a senior living community. Use this checklist to rate the functional abilities of your loved one. If they have significant needs, this might prompt a conversation about The Overlook’s Visiting Nurse Association, Enhanced Living, or Care Management for residents, each of which provides seniors with ADL support. 2. You notice a change in appearance. Perhaps the most obvious change you’ll notice in a family member who needs additional assistance is their outward appearance. If you notice a decline in personal hygiene, this could be a red flag. Warning signs related to appearance include: Noticeable weight loss Disheveled appearance or unkempt hair Soiled clothing or inappropriate attire for the weather Unpleasant body odor Unexplained bruises or burns Untrimmed nails Each of these could indicate different issues. Your loved one might be struggling with mobility problems that make grooming activities difficult. They might be experiencing slips in memory or judgment related to cognitive decline. Therefore, a change in appearance warrants further conversation and more diligent check-ins. 3. They’re demonstrating uncharacteristic moods and behaviors. You know your family member best. If they’re exhibiting atypical behavior or emotions, this is the time to increase your awareness of their daily life. The following observations could be cause for concern: Decreased drive or motivation Difficulty keeping track of time Lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed Overall forgetfulness Increased irritability or agitation Changes in sleep patterns Continuing care retirement communities offer several levels of care to address your parent’s needs. For example, Fieldstone at The Overlook provides specialized programs for residents dealing with memory loss. This, along with the safe and serene environment, helps them reconnect with themselves and experience more balanced moods. 4. Household chores are being neglected. Is your loved one’s yard looking unkempt? Are dirty dishes piling up? Is trash not being taken out? Does there seem to be more and more clutter in their home? These all could be signs their home care is becoming unmanageable for them. Whether due to mobility issues, memory problems, or declining physical or mental health, this is a signal that your loved one may need more support. A move to a senior living community like The Overlook is one solution. Another could be our 24/7 personal care services delivered in your home. 5. They’re experiencing isolation and loneliness. We are social beings, and, unfortunately, it’s common for seniors to experience loneliness as they age. This is nothing to take lightly. If your loved one is unable to regularly get together with friends, socialize with neighbors, or meet with a group with shared values or interests, this is a risk to their overall well-being. The social activities offered at The Overlook can have a dramatic effect on the health and happiness of seniors. Our various resident clubs – along with our calendar of events and activities – will keep your loved one busy and increase their sense of belonging and self-worth. The Overlook’s Personal Touch Noticing the signs that your loved one needs more help often prompts questions about what kind of help and how to best deliver this help. Fortunately, The Overlook has fine-tuned personal and health care services to address practically any age-related need, with programming that serves the modern senior. We offer a broad continuum of care levels including The Overlook Visiting Nurse Association that services Central and Western Massachusetts. Contact us today to discuss how we could meet your loved one’s unique needs through our various levels of care.