The signs that your parent or loved one is not coping well anymore, whether living on his/her own or with another, may be obvious, but sometimes you have to do some investigating to really see the extent of what is really going on in their life.

If possible, have a few family members or close family friends visit your loved one. This will allow each to compare what you all noticed after the visit. Denial can be a big problem. Just another year you may be thinking. But it may be far worse than you’d like to think. So it may help having someone else observe the situation to give you an accurate description of how your loved one is really coping.


Living Conditions

Your loved one may once have been very organized and orderly, but now the inside of the home is messy and disorganized. One of the first signs that your parent is no longer able to cope may be the state of their home. There may be dirty dishes piled in the zinc or spread across the house, mouldy food in the fridge, or no food at all. There may be unusual grocery items packed in cupboards and fridge.

There may be dirty clothes, towels and bedding. Appliances may be broken. On the extreme side of things, there could be an infestation of mice or bugs.

Outside, the yard could show signs of neglect either slightly or severely. If your loved one was once an avid gardener, he/she might no longer be getting into the garden. This may be a sign of your loved one no longer being able to manage the garden. Any sign of neglect in and around the house should be noted.

If the person has a pet, the pet may be malnourished or overfed. The pet may not have been cleaned in a long time.


Physical Signs

Your loved one may have bruises, cuts or sores that he/she can’t explain. Your loved one may have lost a considerable amount of weight or gained a significant amount of weight. Your loved one may no longer have an appetite, and/or may no longer be able to prepare meals for themselves.

Your loved one may no longer be dressing appropriately. Ex, they may still be wearing pajamas late throughout the day, or may be wearing socks that don’t match, or wearing multiple layers of clothing when it may be warm enough for just a shirt.

If your loved one still drives a vehicle, we emphasise concern as people with forms of Dementia can be a danger to themselves and others when behind the wheel. Their driving may be erratic, dangerous or over-cautious and unusually slow. If you discuss this with your loved one, they may become very defensive or hostile about it.


Behavioral Signs

Overmedicating can be a common problem with prescription medication. Check the medication’s labels for expiration dates. Do research on the medication your loved one is taking. Some medications may no longer be necessary or may be conflicting with each other, perhaps making their memory worse. Some medications may be resulting in unhealthy side effects; research the specific medication online and/or visit your local doctor or pharmacist.

Your loved one may also be drinking or smoking more and more than ever before.

Your loved one who may have been very socially active may be closing off more and more, refusing to go out for various reasons resulting in social isolation. You might also notice that his/her friends no longer come visit as much as before or not at all.

Your loved one may no longer be going to those regular activities they always enjoyed like walks, church, hairdresser, bookstore, etc.


Financial Signs

Your loved one’s bank account may be drained with no clear explanation from them as to where the money was spent. Credit cards may be maxed out with unusual purchases.

If there are new people in your loved one’s life for reasons unclear to you, you need to find out who they are exactly and what their motives truly are. Sadly there are many people out there who take advantage of the elderly, a few examples include phone scams, charity scams, urgent payment scams, etc. People with Dementia can often be easy targets. If you notice valuable items missing in your loved one’s home, find out what happened to them.

You may also find unpaid bills or utility payments resulting in electricity and water being turned off.


Final Thoughts

We have mentioned just a few things worth looking out for but the chances are that they’ve been around for quite some time.

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