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Four Considerations for Tennessee Families When Assessing Senior Needs

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5StarHomeCare provides caregiver help to seniors in their homesHow are we to know whether our aging parents truly need help or if observed behavioral changes are simply part of a temporary circumstance? Great care must be taken to objectively analyze a situation before saying something that may cause a loved one to react defensively.

We can look for red flags when visiting with parents.


These include:

  • obvious weight loss or gain,
  • prescriptions barely touched,
  • damage to the car,
  • increased frailty,
  • strange body odor,
  • unopened mail,
  • letters from creditors,
  • piles of clutter,
  • cobwebs,
  • perishables past their expiration dates, or signs of being preoccupied while driving.
  • Dead or dying plants and animals that seem underfed or poorly groomed are also indicators that an aging loved one is not managing very well.

While these behaviors may be worrisome clues of trouble, the good news is that being aware and reacting to them puts family in a proactive position to make sure the senior gets the additional help he or she may need.

1. Safety check

The first step in reacting should be identifying specific areas of concern, such as potentially dangerous medication interactions or hazards increasing the chance of falls. These situations can be addressed with a minimum of fuss and a little effort.


2. Education

If you suspect a loved one is beginning to suffer from dementia, it's important to educate yourself so you can recognize the symptoms rather than guessing. Do the symptoms interfere with the ability to conduct everyday life? Be aware if something's 'just not right' or other family members point out mistakes or express concern. If the senior has difficulty working their way through choices that have been quick decisions in the past, that's a red flag.

3. Get a medical evaluation

A trip to the doctor or neurologist for a thorough checkup can rule out other things that can cause memory loss. Chronic stress, depression, sleep deprivation, reactions to medications, a malfunctioning thyroid, excessive drinking, concussions or menopause are all possible causes for someone to demonstrate forgetfulness that are not necessarily signs of dementia. Alzheimer's disease usually develops slowly rather than coming on suddenly.

4. Arrange for a caregiver

The affected senior may resist discussions about how to adapt because it is scary to feel as if he or she will lose his or her independence and become overwhelmed with changes. A family caregiver may also feel overwhelmed or resentful if other family members do not share the load.

The presence of a qualified professional caregiver in the home, such as those screened and hired by 5 Star Home Care, can help seniors with mobility issues as well as those of all ages who are living with a disability or recovering from an injury or illness. The business's professional caregivers perform such day-to-day activities as bathing, dressing, doing laundry, light housekeeping, meal preparation and transportation.

By following these four steps, families can alleviate worries and get loved ones the care they need to remain in the home with a minimal amount of disruption to their routine. If you suspect a loved one is beginning to suffer from dementia, it's important to educate yourself so you can recognize the symptoms rather than guessing.

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