When was the last time you visited your elderly mother or father, perhaps a grandparent, or even a brother or sister who is advancing in years? Maybe it’s been a while. Perhaps it was relatively recently. Whenever it was, though, when you did visit them at their home, did you take an opportunity to open the refrigerator and look inside?
This might not seem like a big deal for most people, but it can give you a lot of clues into how this senior is handling things at this stage in his or her life.
What can an empty fridge mean?
First and foremost, it could mean that the senior is no longer able to drive, doesn’t feel safe getting behind the wheel, or otherwise has difficulty getting to the grocery store. Yes, there are services that have workers do the shopping for people who order online, but is that senior in your life able to take advantage of these?
But, even if they were to do that, if they don’t have the means or ability to get to the store, they might not be able to get groceries home.
An empty refrigerator could also mean a sign of mental decline or cognitive issues. If somebody has dementia, for example, they might forget to eat, shop, or be completely unaware of the dire circumstances that exist within their own kitchen.
Can’t you just shop for them?
Some family and friends are certainly willing and able to do the shopping for their elderly loved ones and that can be a great asset. However, if you look in the refrigerator next time for somebody who is advancing in years, somebody you care about, and the last time you did it was relatively empty, see if there are any signs of expired foods, too.
That could indicate some challenges the senior is facing, even if he or she won’t admit to it.
This is a perfect opportunity to sit down and talk about what you observe, the challenges and struggles the senior is facing, and recommend senior care options.
There are many senior care options available for elderly men and women, including home care. A home care aide can assist with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and reminders that could be instrumental in helping that senior maintain a high quality of life and be safe while also keeping some level of dignity that remains important to and for them.