8 Warning Signs that a Senior Needs Help During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is both more important and more challenging to keep an eye on how your elderly parents are coping. While for some seniors, the signs that they need help are fairly obvious, it can be more subtle in other cases. Here are some tips for spotting these signs and preventing worst-case scenarios from our independent living team in Sussex County, NJ.

  1. Changes in mood – Take note if your parents start acting differently toward you, family members or friends, or if they exhibit extreme and unusual mood swings. This could be a sign of stress or even illness.
  2. Disorganized, messy home – If you are able to safely visit your parents to check in, take a look at the conditions inside the home. If they are usually fairly neat and clean, but now there’s a lot of mess, chaos and dirt for no specific reason, they may be struggling to cope with everyday housekeeping and chores.
  3. Confusion and uncertainty – Sure, everyone has a senior moment every now and then – even the youngsters – but if you are noticing more frequent confusion and uncertainty, especially around familiar tasks, people or locations, it may be time to get some assistance. It could simply be that there’s too much on their plate to cope with, or it could be a sign of illness.
  4. Depression and isolation – Did your mom used to be a social butterfly who usually loves being active in the community, but now won’t move from her bed or home? Or maybe your dad loved weekly virtual calls with family, but now suddenly doesn’t have the time? Seniors are very vulnerable to depression and isolation, especially during this pandemic, and may need help or medical attention. 
  5. Lack of maintenance – Sure, most of us need a little nudging to go mow the lawn, tend to the garden, or do basic repairs (or even to call the handyman), but a house that is usually cared for that’s now suffering from poor maintenance is an indication that some extra help is needed.
  6. Not taking medications properly – Many seniors are on multiple medications that have specific instructions on how and when to take them, so medication management isn’t always easy. However, if your parent has missed medication, taken too many doses or forgotten if they have taken their medication at all, this is a warning sign that puts their health at risk that you can’t ignore.
  7. Injuries and bruising – As we get older, falls and wounds become more serious and heal more slowly. If you are noticing more injuries, scratches, cuts or even falls, especially if there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for them, then your loved one may be struggling to cope with their daily life. It’s better to get help now rather than risk a serious infection, a broken hip or even a fatal fall.
  8. Poor personal and home hygiene – If you can manage a video or an in-person visit to your parents (or have a friend or neighbor check in), it’s a good opportunity to check on their ability to cope with daily hygiene for themselves and within the home. Warning signs include garbage that has not been taken out, spoilt food in the fridge or pantry, unwashed dishes and dirty bathrooms as well as poor personal hygiene.
    For many seniors, the tasks of daily living such as bathing, grooming and cleaning the home can become a significant and overwhelming challenge, and additional assistance or moving to an assisted living community can effectively relieve this burden.

Bristol Glen specializes in independent living in Sussex County, NJ, with beautiful grounds, apartments and plenty of amenities that support senior living. It is a great place for seniors to stay healthy, active and enjoy life. The COVID-19 protocols in place ensure that they get the assistance they need in their daily life in a way that helps minimize infection risk. If you recognize a number of these warning signs in your elderly parents and want to find out how we can help, contact us today.