“Many older adults are reluctant to bring issues to your attention. So it's important for you to be aware of changes in health or behavior.
“Is your loved one using objects or furniture to maintain his or her balance? Are his or her clothing fitting more loosely that in the past? Does he or she seem to become confused more easily? These may point to the need for further evaluation.”
Be aware of self-neglect warning signs too. Dentino said these may include not taking medications properly, poor hygiene, not wearing suitable clothing for the weather or not maintaining housekeeping or safe cooking.
In addition, an older loved one also may show decreased interest in favorite activities like reading or maintaining friendships and may become sad or lonely.
If you notice anything that raises a red flag, Dentino said it is important to visit with your loved one's health care provider. “He or she can help you better assess your loved one's overall health and other needs,” he said.