January 1, 2020

Signs That Elderly Loved Ones May Need Additional Care

Sometimes the changes that come with aging happen so slowly, they are hard to notice. Other times, they are triggered quickly due to a health issue or emergency. The staff at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare urges family and friends of the elderly to take time to assess whether their loved ones are handling the activities of daily living in a safe and healthy way.

“Devote some extra attention to elderly loved ones,” said Betsy Mullen, COO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “Whether it’s your parents, grandparents or even a friend or neighbor, there are warning signs you can look for that may indicate they are struggling with day-to-day care.”

Signs Your Elderly Loved One is Struggling:

Mullen noted that signs of a problem may include:

  • Poor personal hygiene including unpleasant odors, lack of grooming, dirty and stained clothes
  • A cluttered, dirty home and things like stains on furniture and rugs, stacks of unopened mail, full trash and bad smells
  • Forgetfulness or confusion when performing familiar tasks
  • Lack of energy or interest in former hobbies and activities
  • Missing appointments, late payment notices, calls from bill collectors, utilities shut off
  • Forgetting or confusion about medications
  • Trouble getting up from a chair or bed
  • Unsteadiness when walking or standing
  • Poor diet and weight loss
  • Spoiled food or an empty refrigerator
  • Unexplained bruising or injuries
  • Frequent illness or infection
  • Unexplained damage to the home or vehicle

Types of Assisted Living

“If you think your loved one may be struggling with activities of daily living due to age, dementia or illness, several options exist to get them the help they need to remain safe and healthy,” said Halpern.

Seniors may qualify for in-home nursing or home-making assistance. Chelsea Jewish Homecare/VNA may be able to help. “Sometimes having someone come in once a day or a few times a week to help with medication management, bathing and dressing, light housekeeping and errands can make a world of difference,” said Mullen.

Adult Day Health Care

Adult day care may be another option. “Many of our clients have family or friends who are available to help with their care on nights and weekends, but not during normal workday hours,” said Mullen. “That’s where a service like Shapiro-Rudolph Adult Day Health can help. Participants spend time with their peers engaging in a variety of activities, enjoy healthy meals and snacks, and receive assistance with personal care and medications before returning home at the end of the day.”

Assisted Living in Eastern Massachusetts

An assisted living residence like Cohen Florence Levine Estates in Chelsea and Harriett and Ralph Kaplan Estates in Peabody allows seniors to retain much of their independence while also providing a greater level of assistance than they can receive in their homes. Residents have their own apartments, but come together for meals, activities and excursions, and receive support with their activities of daily living, including dressing, bathing, grooming and medication management. Short-term respite stays are also available, subject to availability. 

Full-Time Care and Rehabilitation

When even more care is required, a nursing home, such as the Leonard Florence Center for Living and The Katzman Family Center for Living  in Chelsea and the Jeffrey and Susan Brudnick Center for Living in Peabody may be the answer. Here, residents benefit from full time care by nurses, rehabilitation specialists and other health care professionals, as well as assistance with all aspects of daily living. Short-term respite stays are also here too. “Many people are surprised to learn that even in our nursing home, most of our rooms are private, although we offer shared rooms as well,” said Mullen.

Spiritual and Emotional Health

“At Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, we don’t just look at the physical needs of each of our clients, but at their spiritual and emotional health as well. Across all of our service lines, our clients enjoy many opportunities for socialization and activities as well as access to spiritual services for any denomination,” said Mullen.

She noted, “Sometimes it’s hard to know how to start these conversations, but at the end of the day, we all want to make sure our elderly loved ones are safe, cared for and able to enjoy their lives to the best and fullest extent possible.”