10 Signs A Senior Needs Assistance (6 thru 10)

Last week I shared the first 5 warning signs indicating the need for senior assistance. Here’s the second installment of what to look for the next time you visit an aging loved one. Many older adults worry about staying in their home; concerned about losing their independence or leaving their home, they try to hide issues or problem areas from their friends and family.

To help you identify if your senior loved one needs assistance, be on the lookout for these warning signs:

Sign #6: Signs of Injury. Bruises and scratches could be evidence of falls. Seniors who’ve fallen are at greater risk for repeat falls leading to more serious injuries. To the contrary, many seniors may be taking blood thinning medications that make bruises appear worse than they really are. If in doubt, consult a physician.

Sign #7: Disorientation. Confusion about time of day or difficulty navigating their surroundings away from home can be a telltale sign that senior assistance is needed. On an outing such as shopping or at a restaurant, observe if they can walk alone and how they adjust to new situations. Often the elderly function fine at home, but physical or mental challenges are more apparent in less familiar settings. The same holds especially true for driving.

Sign # 8: Community. Neighbors, friends or those who work for the person in your care may notice changes in behavior. Maybe they go out less than usual, or not at all. Perhaps papers and mail are stacking up. Check in with others to see what they have observed and compare notes.

Sign #9: Finances. Bills routinely left unopened or unpaid indicate serious issues. Setting up some simple systems may address this concern, but disarray could be a sign of cognitive decline or depression.

Sign #10: Predators. Older seniors, especially those living alone, are more vulnerable to con artists. Falling victim to disreputable individuals who befriend or scam the elderly may indicate a senior’s judgment is failing. Be on the lookout for unnecessary or frequent purchases (e.g., catalog or home shopping networks). If you suspect elder abuse, check out the National Center on Elder Abuse at: http://www.ncea.aoa.gov

If you think senior assistance is needed for your loved one, paying bills, organizing important papers, and reconciling accounts, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Fiscally Fit, Inc. Email me at Alison@fiscallyfit.us or call (650) 965-4090 for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment.

10 Signs A Senior Needs Assistance (1 thru 5)

In my practice, I have the privilege of helping seniors while they remain in their home. Whether organizing important papers, paying their bills or managing in-home caregiver payroll, my clients’ number one concern is staying independent. Many seniors worry about staying in their home, and have become masters of denial or deception.

To help you identify the need for senior assistance, here the first 5 (out of 10) signs to look for:

Sign #1: Hygiene. Poor grooming or unmet basic self-care needs (bathing, clean clothes). Often these are early signs that someone is in declining health.

Sign #2: Nutrition. Unexplained weight loss is a sign of poor nutrition. Look for spoiled or inadequate food hinting a senior isn’t cooking or eating well.

Sign # 3: Housework. A home that’s dirtier or more cluttered than usual; piles of laundry or dishes may suggest something is awry. Hiring a housekeeper can help, but a poorly maintained house points to physical decline or depression.

Sign #4: Health. Maybe there’s just a general sense that something isn’t quite right, such as persistent fatigue or lack of interest in general. Follow your instincts and make a doctor’s appointment. Whenever possible, attend the appointment with the senior so you can offer information or hear the diagnosis/next steps.

Sign #5: Medications. Lots of unused pills in the cupboard – or confusion about how, why or when medications should be taken – are danger signs for senior assistance. Managing meds can take some initial set up (such as a pill box), but the need for reminders on a daily basis could mean bigger issues.

Next week I’ll post the last five warning signs alerting the need for senior assistance. Or, if you know a senior loved one needs help with paying bills, organizing important papers, and reconciling accounts, schedule a free 30-minute consultation. Email me at Alison@fiscallyfit.us or call (650) 965-4090 for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment.

Staying in Touch & Engaging Aging Parents

It’s hard to imagine that the holiday season ended a month ago. By now most of us have recovered from the excitement (or drama) including family dinners or out-of-town guests.  If you’re one of the millions of Boomers with aging parents, you may have noticed some changes during your last holiday visit. Did you notice any changes in memory or a general decline in their health?  Are they are having difficulty living on their own?

Like many of my clients, my father lives out of state.  He’s a spry and social 82-year old with a home computer and girlfriend!  During one of my last visits I set him up with Skype so he can stay in touch with me.   Some of my friends were skeptical that he would actually embrace this technology.  Once I showed him how we could make video calls for free and that he was in control of the camera (lest he not be dressed for guests), he was open to the idea.  Now it provides us an easy way to stay connected and I can literally see how he’s doing.

While I primarily help with managing financial-related details of everyday living, I also help with a variety of services for seniors and aging adults.  Many of my senior clients don’t have family nearby, and using video tools like Skype helps them stay connected as well as serving two key purposes:

  1. Use It Or Lose It.  Studies have proven that keeping seniors active – both physically and mentally – helps fight against depression and memory-related issues.  Whether playing bingo at the local community center, or doing Soduku and crossword puzzles at home, seniors need to find ways to stay sharp and connected.  There are also brain gyms popping up around the country.  Designed to help young minds learn better, they also help adults fight the effects of aging.  Check out this NY Times article about a recent study where seniors volunteered in a Baltimore elementary school.
  2. See Dramatic Changes.  As our parents age, changes in their ability to take care of themselves may begin to appear.  While phone calls are great, it doesn’t take the place of seeing them.  In between face-to-face visits, you can keep tabs on how they are doing – noticing any weight loss or changes in hygiene – that may alert you that they need additional support or medical attention.

If you are caring for aging parents you may feel overwhelmed by all the facets of care they need.  Over the next three blog posts, we’ll share the top 10 signs a senior needs assistance. If you need immediate help or want to know about the services we provide to seniors, send an email to Alison@fiscallyfit.us or call 650-965-4090.