Festive Senior Snippet blog from Exeter & East Devon

This month we explore the subtle signs that show a loved one may need support...

The festive period often allows families and friends to spend a longer period of time with older or vulnerable loved ones. It also offers an opportunity to observe, sometimes noticing a decline in ability or wellbeing.

This realisation will often prompt an enquiry to ourselves, and we are keen to encourage this proactive approach to care. Planning is the best route to providing peace of mind, and of avoiding a crisis call at a later date.

Ideally, a person will have a ‘balanced’ level of ability and/or support. We assess this balance by looking at 8 key criteria, along with additional factors relating to practical matters and emotional wellbeing.

For those with older or vulnerable family members or neighbours, there are some subtle but key signs to look out for. These changes could indicate a decline in health or ability, or an increase in practical need, at which point they can contact a relevant support service for guidance, be that a GP, district nurse, or home care provider such as ourselves at Home Instead Exeter & East Devon.

For example, if a person suddenly stops having their newspaper delivered, they may simply need a check with an optician – but don’t have the confidence to organise this. Weight loss could be a sign of illness, of depression and loneliness, or a lack in ability to manage daily tasks such as meal preparation – this in turn can lead to dietary and medical issues.

Subtle signs that support is needed can be:

  • Reluctance to go out
  • Loss of interest in mealtimes
  • Burnt pots and pans, an unusually unkept home, or unpaid bills
  • Reduction in personal hygiene and appearance
  • Declining driving skills
  • Missed GP appointments or losing track of medications
  • General signs of low mood, avoidance of regular routine or to socialise

Early intervention really matters, and our Care Professionals are trained to look out for these subtle changes in routine or ability. They visit the same clients regularly, so they know what a ‘good’ day looks like for them. This continuity of care also means that they can recognise that their client is having a ‘bad’ day and can act promptly.

In the first instance, our advice is to have a gentle and respectful ‘care conversation’ with the individual, or to raise concerns with their own extended family members. This will hopefully prompt the medical intervention or support that could help.

Good care takes time to put in place: CQC Outstanding* care of the standard that we offer takes longer still, so our advice is always to plan for peace of mind.

Contact our team to find out more by calling 01395 200600, by emailing [email protected] or by following us on Facebook HERE for a host of free information, advice and community events regarding later life matters, including access to our ‘Balance of Care’ resources.

Looking to compare Hourly Home Care or Live-In care providers? Click HERE to download a copy of our handy Home Care Checklists.

*Who are the CQC? Click HERE to find out more.