If 2020 was the year of Covid lockdowns, 2021 has been the year of reunions—albeit careful ones. Health and safety remain top of mind, but families are feeling ready to venture out and gather again. We’re meeting new babies, marveling at how much children have grown, and embracing our elders, grateful for every moment.
It’s natural to observe differences in the behaviors of aging family members over time. Particularly after a prolonged absence, these changes could be fairly noticeable. But how do you know if these changes are typical signs of aging, or if they signal something more concerning?
Traci Dobronravova, Director for Seniors At Home, suggests watching for changes in these key areas:
- New or unexplained weight loss. This is a cue to have your loved one seek guidance from their doctor. There could be a medical reason behind their weight loss, or they might need help with nutrition or meal preparation.
- Moving with difficulty; having trouble with balance. These can indicate deeper physical or neurological issues and put your loved one at greater risk of falling—a major cause of injury for seniors. You can help make sure their home is as safe as possible using our home safety checklist.
- Confusion or lapses in memory. You might worry that your loved one is showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, but forgetfulness can be caused by many factors, including medical issues, stress and anxiety, or problems managing medication.
- Anxiety or depression. December and January can be stressful months, challenging for even the most even-keeled people. But if you observe your aging loved one showing frequent or prolonged dips in mood, or increased stress or anxiety, they might benefit from professional support.
- Trouble with home cleanliness and hygiene. If you notice unopened mail, expired food, or personal care that has gone unattended, take note. It may be time to get assistance on daily tasks that can benefit your loved one’s overall wellbeing.
“Many older adults go without the care needed because the signs go unnoticed,” shares Traci. “The lack of social activities and family gatherings during the pandemic has exacerbated the issue and we are seeing an increased need in assistance as people reunite.”
Being aware of the changes to look for will help you make the most of your time together. Seniors At Home is here to support you and your loved one. A free consultation can offer the direction and answers you need to make necessary decisions.
If you or someone you care about needs assistance, please reach out to Seniors At Home at 415-449-3700 or contact us online.
Seniors At Home is a division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, a trusted nonprofit institution that has been providing care since 1850. Our services are funded by fees and by donations for those who cannot afford the full cost of care for these critical services.