How To Recognize The Signs That A Loved One May Need Future Caregiving

Age affects us all in different ways. There’s no telling what lies ahead. As loved ones age, it is often those around them that are the first to notice the need for extra help. 

Because each person’s experience is unique, we’ve compiled a list of the more common signs that someone you know might require a caregiver. Use these more as a starting point for a discussion with family. Simply showing a few of these isn’t definite proof, but it can help you become more aware and know when to seek professional consultations.  


If you live close enough to see your loved one regularly, it can be easier to spot some of the physical signs that help is needed. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:

  • Difficulty walking, climbing stairs or getting up from a seated position
  • Trouble maintaining personal hygiene
  • Diagnosis of a degenerative disorder or injury
  • Recent hospitalization
  • Unexplained injuries or bruises
  • Noticeable weight change
  • Messy living area
  • Spoiled food in refrigerator
  • Frequent or unexplained car damage


Sometimes a family member can seem a little off or act out of character. For Diane T., phone conversations signaled that something was different about her mother. “When she’d tell me something happened or describe her day, I realized she was taking bits and pieces from different times in her life and rolling them into one story,” she said. 

  • Forgetfulness, disorientation or confusion can be signs of something as simple as dehydration or something more complex.
  • Additional concerning behaviors are:
  • Becoming withdrawn or disinterested in daily activities
  • Changes in mood
  • Misses appointments
  • Overlooks taking medication properly
  • Refuses aid devices such as a wheelchair or walker
  • Increased time sleeping
  • Sudden secrecy


Safety can often be the first concern for those with aging family members, especially those living alone. Individually, these signs can have more serious consequences, so take note if your loved one:

  • Begins to wander outside
  • Participates in actions that can pose a danger to others
  • Has difficulty using the phone or accessing emergency services
  • Overlooks turning off appliances
  • Lives alone in an undesirable neighborhood or in a remote location


“That’s what first tipped me off that something was going on,” said Diane of her mother’s finances. “I took a look at her checkbook and saw that she was writing checks to these obscure charities that I’d never heard of. So she was sending money for all these scams.” 

Even when nothing appears to be out of the ordinary, something seemingly benign can reveal a larger issue. By taking a look at a loved one’s finances, you may come across signs like:

  • Unpaid or overdue bills
  • Easily swayed by solicitors
  • Increase in spending or check writing  
  • Inability to manage finances or make sound financial decisions

If you’re concerned a loved one may be showing some of these signs or are interested in learning more about in-home caregivers, contact UrbanCaring today at (888) 981-9838 to learn more.


Photo credit: Lady with Cane - Reggio Emilia, Italy - 1991 via photopin (license)