Find Caregiver

When you’re looking to find a caregiver for a senior in need, you first need to know what you’re looking for.  Things may seem normal on the outside, and some changes are barely noticeable.  Once in a while we all forget details or put things off, but when a pattern develops, it may be serious.  Remember, dementia (mental deterioration) is not a normal part of aging.  Sharpen your observational skills, and look for patterns within the following key areas:

Basic tasks – difficulty in walking, dressing, talking, eating, cooking, climbing steps or managing medications.

Hygiene – infrequent bathing, unusually sloppy appearance, foul body and/or mouth odor.

Responsibilities – -mail is unopened, papers are piled up, checkbook is unreadable, bills are unpaid, bank account overdraft notices are accumulating, prescriptions are unfilled, phone calls aren’t returned, cooking pots and pans look burned, refrigerator interior has foul odor, food supply is low, home inter and/or exterior is unkempt, laundry is piling up, the car has new dents.

Health – weight loss, changes in appetite, problems swallowing, fatigue, burns, black and blue marks (possible signs of falling), hearing loss (look for signs of lip-reading attempts and talking loudly), seems withdrawn without reason, incontinence (bed-wetting), spilling and dropping things (check carpet for stains), complaints of muscle weakness, insomnia or excessive sleeping, dehydration.

Isolation – lack of interest in outside friendships, activities, or hobbies, keeps curtains drawn day and night, has little access to transportation, lives in another city or state and lives alone.

Attitude – sadness, display of verbal or physical abuse, talk of being depressed and feelings of despair, abuse of alcohol or drugs, paranoia, refusal to communicate, unusual argumentativeness, a recent emotional or medical crisis.

Cognitive functions – consistent forgetfulness about where things are, getting lost while walking or driving, confusion, loss of reasoning skills, difficulty answering questions, inability to find the right word, use of repetitive words or phrases, severe personality changes, wandering, inability to recall names of familiar people or objects, inability to compete a sentence, forgetting how to use simple, ordinary things such as a pencil, forgetting to close windows, turn off the stove and lock the doors, loss of sense of time.

If some of these warning signs are present, and you are beginning to question your aging loved one’s ability to make choices and decisions, don’t scare yourself and other family members into thinking that these are the early stages of dementia. Use common sense before suggesting professional help or beginning to find a caregiver.  Overreacting and jumping to conclusions create communication friction and unfounded anxiety.

When you need to find a caregiver, consult a doctor about your elder.  Describe what you’ve witnessed and let the professional make a formal diagnosis.  Sometimes a physical examination reveals a condition that can be treated.  What appears to be dementia may in fact be caused by medications (including over-the-counter drugs), alcohol, depression, tumors, heart problems, head injuries, infections, poor vision or hearing problems.  The earlier you detect a problem, the more likely it can be treated effectively.

This entry was posted in Caregiver and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.