1. Spoiled food in the refrigerator – Rotten food can be an indication that your loved one doesn’t have the energy or interest to cook, lacks the mobility to get around the kitchen, or may be forgetting to eat. You may also notice they are losing weight or their clothes are becoming loose.
2. Change in personal hygiene – Your once immaculately groomed parent is now looking dishevelled, smells of urine or body odor, is wearing dirty clothing or is less interested in personal hygiene. These signs can indicate physical difficulty with toileting, showering or grooming, or difficulty remembering to start or complete these tasks.
3. Appear Confused or Overwhelmed – Displaying uncertainty or confusion in performing once-familiar tasks can be a sign of decline in memory or processing. You may also notice they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
4. Missed Medication – If you see your family member is forgetting to take pills or taking too many pills, medication management may be a concern.
5. Piling up of mail / papers – Tasks such as sorting mail and paying bills can feel overwhelming to someone who is experiencing memory problems or is feeling stressed by an increasing inability to manage everyday tasks.
6. Unexplained bruising or injuries – These can be signs of falls due to a decline in mobility and balance, or not using recommended gait aids such as a walker or cane. Difficulty rising from a chair is a clear indication that your parent is at high risk for falls.
7. Frequent calls to family or calling at odd hours – This can be a sign of loneliness and isolation or indicate that there are issues with memory and thinking.
8. Decline in housekeeping – When you see noticeable signs that the house is not being routinely cleaned – laundry piling up, dirty dishes, trash not being taken out, extreme clutter, or any change that is not in line with how your parent would normally attend to household chores – it can signal that your parent is struggling.
9. House Safety Concerns – Scorching on the bottoms of pots and pans or frequently leaving the stove on can be a sign of short-term memory loss and poses a serious threat to safety.
10. Depressed Mood or Low Energy – Recognizing a loss of independence can often be very difficult for seniors, resulting in low mood and fear of what the future holds for them. They may lose interest in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed, avoid socializing, or complain of feeling tired. They may be irritable or have mood swings.