Oftentimes, when an older adult is experiencing mental or physical problems, he or she will do small things that can be a tip-off to a caregiver that there may be a larger issue at hand. According to the Eldercare Locator, any of the following signs alone or together could be cause for concern. It is always important to alert the elder’s doctor of any physical or psychological behavior changes.
- A change in eating habits, resulting in weight loss, no appetite, or missed meals
- Neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes or having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin
- A neglected home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation
- Inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated; making phone calls at all hours
- Changed relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concern
- Physical problems such as burns or injury marks, resulting from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications
- A decrease or end to participating in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious surveys
- Forgetfulness that results in unopened mail, piling of newspapers, not filling prescriptions, or missing appointments
- Mishandled finances, such as not paying bills twice or more, or hiding money
- 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
You can always call our Information & Referral Department at 508-999-6400 if you have any questions or concerns about your loved one’s behavior. Even if we are unable to help, our I&R staff can often refer you to an agency or organization that is able to provide help.
If you live outside of Greater New Bedford, you can contact the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or at eldercare.gov. The Eldercare Locator will tell you where you can receive assistance in your community.