How to recognize changes in elderly behaviour

How to recognize changes in elderly behaviour

Elderly changes in behaviour may mean they need support

When someone in your care, whether elderly or not, begins to exhibit changes in behaviour or in their ability to do activities of daily living, these changes often start small but can be signs of a slow transition to needing more support, such as home health services.

It's important for caregivers, family and friends to keep a watchful eye on each other, especially seniors - even when they are living independently and are in good physical and mental health.

It's important for caregivers, family and friends to keep a watchful eye on each other, especially seniors - even when they are living independently and are in good physical and mental health.

Slight changes in elderly behaviour, personality, level of self-care, or the ability to do household chores, can be signs of the need for increased care and support.

Speak to your health care provider about any concerns you may have. In the meantime, this caregiver checklist can be used to track changes in elderly behaviour, safety, and personal care.

Elderly behaviour changes:

  • Irritable (gets upset easily)
  • Angry (loses temper)
  • Sad (tearful)
  • Withdrawn (does not want to talk)
  • Confused (does not understand what is happening)
  • Memory problems (forgets or repeats conversations, medications unfilled or not being taken)

Elderly safety concerns:

  • Falls
  • Wandering (leaves home, gets lost)
  • Kitchen (fire, leaves stove on)
  • Nutrition (not enough or too much food)
  • Driving

Changes in activities of daily living:

  • Difficulty moving (getting out of chair, walking across the room)
  • Difficulty getting in and out of bath tub
  • Difficulty getting to the toilet
  • Problems preparing meals
  • Dirty and cluttered house (food expired, laundry piling up, neglected home repairs)

Often the elderly or people in your care may be reluctant to say they need help, or try to downplay the trouble they are having.

As a caregiver, when you become aware that the person in your care is behaving in ways that are out of character you should take notice and try to have a conversation with them about how they are feeling, and discuss ways you can help.

Sometimes providing help in even a small way can make a big difference to the elderly or the person in your care and allow them to retain as much independence as possible.

Read also the Elizz article on Home safety tips for seniors and caregivers.

 

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