How to spot that your older relative is not coping or becoming forgetful

How to spot that your older relative is not coping or becoming forgetful

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How to spot that your older relative is not coping or becoming forgetful

How to  spot that your older relative is not coping or becoming forgetful , here are some suggestions:

  1.  Hoarding or gathering clutter
  2. Confusion about what medication they have taken
  3. Unpaid bills
  4. Not much food in the fridge & cupboards
  5. Burnt pots and pans
  6. Stains on clothing
  7. Hair standing on end
  8. Failure to shower or bath properly
  9. Bad breath or failing to brush their teeth
  10. Dangerous driving

If you see evidence of at least 3 of the above it is probably a good idea to take a closer look at what is going on.   It may be that they are getting depressed  – they do not see the point of keeping up standards of personal hygiene.  They may have lost interest in their appearance and in going out and socialising with other people.  Maybe they are lonely.  Maybe they cannot get to the pharmacy to buy shower gel or soap or they have run out of money to purchase these items.

As regards shopping for groceries look in the fridge.  Are they having 3 meals a day?  Is the food nutritious or are they eating toast and biscuits?  Have they lost interest in preparing food?  These are all signs that the person may need help.  Try and find out if there are any meals on wheels services in the local area.  Could they visit a local daycare centre where they could get a hot meal?

When it comes to  clothes, could it be that the person no longer has clothes that fit them.? Have  they lost or gained weight for example.    Are their teeth bothering them so that they would need to visit the dentist? Do they have comfortable trousers or jogging bottoms?    I know an elderly lady who wore skirts all her life, she never wore trousers.  But at a certain point I went to the shops and bought her 3 pairs of tracksuit bottoms.  I knew it was inevitable that she would end up in hospital at some stage and I wanted to make sure that she had something to cover her legs and her dignity.  She rejected the clothes at first and left them in the paper bag they were delivered in but sure enough when admitted to hospital she needed them, along with new underwear and a dressing gown.  These may not be items of clothing that people routinely wear but they do come in handy.

Another lady I know had her washing machine in the basement of her house – that was fine when she could go down stairs but there came a time when she had to rely on family members to put on a wash or put the clothes into the dryer.  Generally people do not like asking for help and they may try and manage with the clothes that they have.  These are practical issues that may be easily solved once people are aware of them.

Another example of how to spot that your older relative is not coping or becoming forgetful is hoarding .  Hoarding and clutter are difficult to  solve and that is why there are lots of TV programmes on the subject.  Some people have been hoarders all their lives whereas for others it is a recent thing – so whether it is books, newspapers, magazines or clothes, hoarding does present a problem.  The more stuff that is left lying around, the more likely that an older person will trip over it.  Ideally it is best to keep the floor clear to make it easier to move around.

If you are not sure whether your relative is taking their medication correctly it may be time for family members to take on that responsibility.  This can be problematic if the person needs to take the tablets more than twice a day.  But if they do not take their prescribed medication it is likely that they will be out of sync and they may be at greater risk of falling.  Nobody wants that.   The dangerous driving issue will also need to be addressed.

If you are checking on your relative on a regular basis you may not see the changes in him/her because they happen so gradually.  Hopefully the above checklist will help you  with how to notice that your older  relative is not coping or becoming forgetful and you can take action to counterract that.  If you would like to discuss the above issues in more detail please go to to book a consultation today.



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