Signs Your Loved One May Need Help
Physical capabilities change over time. Your loved one may begin to show signs of an orthopaedic condition that limits his or her ability to accomplish daily tasks as quickly or as safely as in the past. The signals will vary, depending on age, overall health, current conditions, and past routines.
Signs your loved one may need help include:
- Stiffness, pain, or fatigue complaints
- Noticeable swelling in and around the joints
- Difficulty standing or walking
- Limits to range of motion
- Changes in ability to carry out normal tasks like getting dressed and preparing food
- More clutter or disorganization in the home than usual
Don’t assume your loved one will tell you if there’s a problem.
When an orthopaedic condition develops over time, people are not likely to recognize it for awhile. It may take weeks or months for them to notice that they’re having trouble with buttons and zippers, for example. And some conditions may not become obvious until a fall or other minor accident at home.
If you feel your loved one needs assistance or treatment, don’t be afraid to bring it up.
Sometimes people find it hard to accept help from others, especially their children or younger friends and neighbors. But a simple observation is a great place to start.
Look for an opportunity to say:
- “I noticed you’re rubbing your fingers a lot. Do your joints hurt?”
- “You seem hesitant on the steps. Are you concerned you might fall?”
You can also offer to perform one specific task that seems to be a source of concern, and then develop a more supportive role from there.
If you need it, don’t hesitate to recruit professional help. Talk to your loved one’s doctor. If a test or procedure is ordered, learn more about how you can be supportive during the treatment and recovery process.