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Ten Warning Signs Your Older Family Member May Need Help

A caregiver holds an elderly woman's hand

Changes in physical and mental abilities that may occur with age can be difficult to detect — for older adults and their family members, friends, and caregivers too. Certain behaviors may indicate the need for loved ones to take action. Here are 10 warning signs that your loved one who is an older adult may need some help with living independently:

  • Your loved one has changed eating habits, resulting in losing weight, having no appetite, or missing meals.
  • They have neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes and having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin.
  • They have neglected their home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation.
  • They are unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at all hours.
  • Relationship patterns have changed, causing friends and neighbors to express concerns.
  • Physical problems, such as burns or injury marks that may result from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications.
  • Decreased or reduced participation in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services.
  • Forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, piling of newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missing appointments.
  • Mishandling finances, such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money.
  • They have been making unusual purchases, such as buying more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements.

If the signs above are raising red flags, resources such as the Administration for Community Living’s Eldercare Locator may be of assistance. For more information about ACL, visit www.acl.gov.

LifeCare Alliance’s wellness, nutrition, and support programs may also help. To make a referral, click here and a member of our team can reach your loved one about services we can offer.

— Content provided by the Administration for Community Living