It can be hard to recognize, and even more difficult to admit, when the time comes to make major lifestyle changes due to age. Although it is always best to consult with a trusted medical professional on any healthcare decision, there are some signs that one can look for themselves to help identify a need for further assistance.
CHANGES IN EATING HABITS
Drastic changes in appetite or weight are always a cause for concern, but especially if it affects overall nutrition and day-to-day energy levels. Take stock of the pantry and observe what habits may have changed recently, what items are being consumed the most (or least). It can help to keep a diary of meals and snacks, and water consumption, throughout the day in order to more easily identify patterns and variations.
HOUSE IN DISARRAY
If dirt and clutter are becoming so commonplace as to be unmanageable, it might be time to ask for help. Sometimes a pair of fresh eyes, and strong hands, can be all it takes to transform a living space into a more comfortable and accessible abode. Be mindful of potential tripping hazards, such as loose cords or random items on the floor, as these can be the cause of a serious accident.
UNPAID BILLS PILING UP
Although everyone makes a mistake or late payment once in a while, a considerable pile of unpaid bills could be a sign of more than financial distress. Perhaps the early stages of memory loss or dementia make it difficult to keep on top of things, or maybe an undiagnosed anxiety disorder is the source. Regardless of cause, it’s always wise to ask for help sooner than later when it comes to avoiding late fees or other negative financial consequences.
There’s no reason to let bathing become a burden when it doesn’t have to be. If it’s getting too difficult to maneuver, there are many attachments and devices that can turn a regular showerhead into an easily manageable, hand-held spray. If slipping is a concern, shower chairs and wall handles are a good option for added stability. Electric toothbrushes can take the work, and hand pain, out of regular brushing. But, there may come a time when personal assistance is needed more than personal devices.
UNSAFE TO DRIVE
Driving can be a complicated freedom to relinquish, but everyone is safest when we respect our own limitations. If vision is becoming cloudy, blurry, unreliable, or if night vision is steadily decreasing, consider letting someone else get behind the wheel. As we age, it’s important to schedule regular eye exams not only to protect vision, but in order to detect signs of other potential health issues as well.
SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
If there seem to be more bad days than good ones, or it no longer feels like there’s much to look forward to, please consider talking to a mental health professional about these feelings. Perhaps it seems pointless to get out of bed, or else insomnia strikes with relentless regularity. Maybe hobbies no longer bring happiness, or there is no longer solace within solitude. There is nothing wrong with admitting how we feel inside, and doing so often brings relief.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
The ones who know us best are best equipped to provide the most honest feedback. If there’s ever any doubt to one’s health and well-being, ask loved ones to be honest with you and to give feedback on anything they find concerning. Be receptive, and open to their side of the story, for it may provide insights that are invisible from a personal perspective.