6 Common Signs of Self-Neglect in Aging Adults

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Seniors who show signs of self-neglect need someone to step in to help with their care. Your elderly loved one might not say, or even understand, that he or she is falling behind on meeting his or her daily needs. Stay on the lookout for these signs that your loved one needs assistance. 

1. Unusual Weight Loss or Dehydration

Eating and drinking water are necessary components of healthy living. Unusual weight loss can result from an undiagnosed health condition. Seniors might also stop eating if cooking is too challenging. Dehydration can occur rapidly if a senior is too tired or distracted to remember to drink water. A trip to the hospital for malnutrition or dehydration is a serious sign of self-neglect.

2. Unsafe Living Conditions

Every senior should live in a clean and safe environment that promotes good health. Seeing dirty laundry or dishes piled up is a clear sign your loved one isn’t living in a hygienic environment. Your loved one may prefer to live in a clean house but be too tired or sick to keep it up. 

For families living in Huntsville, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

3. A Lack of Personal Hygiene

The same type of issues that contribute to a dirty house can also cause seniors to neglect their hygiene. Talks about your loved one’s appearance should be approached cautiously to avoid causing him or her to feel embarrassed. Yet unwashed hair and skin can lead to more serious conditions, such as bacterial infections and rashes. Instead of focusing on how your loved one looks or smells, ask about specific needs that contribute to the problem. Offering to install grab bars in the shower or have someone wash and style his or her hair is more likely to be met with agreement rather than an argument. 

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of homecare. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

4. House Maintenance Problems

You might also notice other issues are happening in your loved one’s house. An unkempt lawn might indicate your parent is no longer able to handle common maintenance issues. Even something as small as unchanged lightbulbs can have serious consequences for seniors if they cannot see their way through dark rooms. Unpaid bills and disconnected utilities also fall into this category of concerns. 

5. Neglected Pets

Most seniors consider their pets to be members of their families. In the past, your loved one might not have ever thought he or she would leave his or her pet unfed or without basic veterinary care. Seniors who reach the point where they can’t care for their pets properly are also likely having difficulty meeting their own personal needs. 

6. Decreasing Social Engagement

Mental and emotional health can also be affected by self-neglect. It takes time and energy to see other people, and seniors who suddenly stop socializing aren’t able to meet their emotional needs. Identifying why your loved one has stopped socializing might reveal other signs of self-neglect. Finding solutions for your loved one’s challenges can help him or her take better care of him or herself in the future. 

A professional caregiver can help your loved one live at home in safety and comfort. In Huntsville, elderly home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at (256) 716-9940 to learn about ways our experienced caregivers can help your loved one.


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