The Smell Test: When Elders Need Care

By Sylvia Todor
When caring for an aging loved one, there are many subtle signals indicating they need help but these signs often go unnoticed. Sylvia Todor, Regional Marketing Director with Kindred at Home, offers some advice on what to look for and how home care can help.

The Smell TestIf you notice musty and other unpleasant odors in your elder loved ones homes or on them, personally, it’s a big red flag that they need personal home care assistance. It’s more than strange odors. It’s an issue of health, sanitation, and declining physical capabilities. One common source of “old-people” smell, for example, is a lack of proper laundry management, and the limitations caused by declining stamina. It can actually be a lot of work for elderly people, who are moving more slowly, to do laundry. They may tend to hang clothes back into the closet thinking they can get more wear out of them. Add this to a declining sense of smell and even declining vision for spotting soiled garments, and they can end up with a closet full of clothes in need of washing, and shoes that need to be aired or replaced. This can cause their entire house to smell unpleasant.

A professional home care agency like Kindred at Home can offer a flexible schedule of caregivers who provide a broad range of personal care services, keeping the home tidy and clean, the laundry done, and assistance with personal hygiene and bathing. Older adults often don’t bathe frequently enough, thinking there are fewer reasons to clean up, or having a fear of falling in the tub or shower. They may think sponge baths are adequate, but they are not. If the smell test is causing you concerns, this a very good reason to consider personal home care assistance.