5 Signs Your Grandparents Can't Take Care of Themselves

February 14th, 2013

When an elderly loved one is no longer able to care for him or herself, the burden often falls on the family. An aging parent or grandparent will not always ask for additional help, and so it is up to family members to recognize that loved ones need assistance.
“We can’t always rely on our elderly loved ones to communicate their concerns with us,” says Sharon Roth Maguire, geriatric nurse practitioner and Senior Vice President of Quality and Clinical Operations for BrightStar Care®. “There are signs that will help you recognize when a family member needs a little more help and in-care assistance can often ease the burden.”
Maguire says these five signs indicate it might be time to get professional help for your elderly loved one:

  1. Confusion Over Medications: As family members age, memory
    loss
    should be considered a red
    flag. Your loved ones confusion over daily tasks, especially medication
    management should be a cause for concern. If a grandparent or parent is
    forgetting to take medications or taking double doses, it may be time to consider
    an in-home nurse. This is one of the most important signs to look for as
    medication mismanagement can contribute to worsening confusion and a host
    of other concerning health outcomes including full blown medical crises.
  2. No Longer Able to Drive: Physical
    and mental decline might prohibit loved ones from doing the things they
    normally do, including driving a car. If your loved one is missing
    doctor’s appointments or unable to make it to family occasions, this might
    be a sign they are in need of extra care.
  3. Inability to Manage Finances: Maintaining finances are
    difficult enough as it is, and when aging family members are unable to
    take care of their financial obligations there can be repercussions. If
    you notice large piles of unsorted mail, bills piling up, or debt
    collectors leaving messages, it may be time to consider an in-home nurse who
    can evaluate your loved one’s cognitive status and medication regimen to
    see if there are any health related concerns that may be interfering with
    their ability to manage their own finances.
  4. The House is a Mess: Physical challenges, pain, or
    depression may limit ability to clean and organize, and this will be
    apparent when your loved one can’t maintain a tidy home. Dishes in the
    sink, spoiled food in the refrigerator, piles of dirty laundry and extreme
    clutter might be a sign it’s time to think about getting professional
    help.
  5. Infrequent bathing: If you notice your loved one
    has not been bathing or showering as often as usual, it might be because
    of physical hardship, depression, or memory loss. This is a sign that your
    family member needs a little extra help with daily tasks, and in-home
    assistance could be the solution.

We understand that this is a sensitive topic, as are many other caregiving issues. For more information on various family caregiver subject matter, click here. Or, if you're just starting the search for homecare, download BrightStar's Homecare Buyer's Guide for key considerations and questions to ask as you interview agencies.