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6 signs your elderly loved one needs support

We all slow down a little as we age. But how do you know when your elderly loved one is struggling and may need some extra support? Here are 6 signs to keep an eye out for. 

#1 Their home is unclean and cluttered

If your loved one’s always been messy, you can skip this one! In all seriousness, though, a suddenly messy and increasingly cluttered home can be one of the first signs that your elderly loved one is struggling day-to-day. If they’re all of a sudden not managing to do regular cleaning and tidying, they may need a little extra help. 

#2 They’ve not seen friends or relatives in a while

Many of us go through quieter periods when we’re feeling less extroverted or are too busy to be social but if your elderly loved one is losing touch with friends and relatives and missing out on gatherings and activities, it could be a sign they’re becoming isolated as a result of older age. Staying connected is vital to ongoing health and wellbeing, mental and physical, so be mindful if your loved one’s social circle starts shrinking. It’s worth taking a look at the NHS’s advice on Loneliness in the elderly: how to help.

#3  They’re experiencing regular pain

Is your loved one complaining of aches and pains more frequently than before? Joint pain and stiffness can be hugely debilitating, and can affect an older person’s mobility and outlook. If the pain is hindering them from preparing food or getting to the bathroom, that’s a sure sign it’s worth visiting the doctor, considering their support needs and making a plan.

#4 Conversation isn’t as easy as before

Have you noticed conversation with your loved one isn’t as flowing and fluent as it used to be? Do they sometimes struggle to find something to say, or to remember regular words? Or maybe they’re having angry outbursts? If the character of your conversations together has suddenly shifted, arrange a trip to your loved one’s doctor to get their advice.

#5 Forgetfulness is becoming a regular thing

We all misplace the TV remote now and then. Ok, on a regular basis. But excessive forgetfulness is a hallmark sign an elderly person is slowing down. They might forget where they placed objects, forget the names of places and people, or have trouble remembering recent events. If memory loss is beginning to disrupt day-to-day life and relationships, get some expert advice to check whether your loved one is developing dementia or a condition that mimics its symptoms. 

#6 They’re getting set in their ways

If your loved one is suddenly seeing everything in ‘black and white’ or viewing the world in a rigid way, it’s worth keeping an eye on their outlook. It can be common for some people to refuse to make healthy lifestyle changes, for example. They might snap at you, or shut down entirely. This behaviour can be troubling to witness and it could be a sign that they’re lacking the kind of connection, interaction and inspiration that helps keep loneliness at bay. The good news? Helping them stay social can make a huge difference.

Arrange a little support, the speedy way

Noticed your loved one is struggling and not sure where and how to start getting them some extra support? companiions is here to help. We believe no one should have to suffer loneliness. Our befriending network brings together people who need a little help or companionship, quickly, easily and safely.

To get started, download the companiions app and sign up.