It’s never easy to decide that your aging parent or family member can’t live alone anymore. The decision is complicated, with many physical, emotional, and environmental factors entering the picture. But even though the conversation is tough, it’s also necessary—it’s very unlikely that your aging parent will come to you and admit that he/she can no longer perform day-to-day routines.
Of course, the transition to assisted living facilities or retirement communities is very stressful, which is why home care is such a great option. Home care lets your family member receive needed support while still enjoying the comforts of home. Here are a few signs that may indicate that it’s time to have a conversation about considering home care options:
1. Worsening health issues
Most of us develop chronic health issues at some point in our lives, and as we get older, these conditions tend to worsen. Health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, or dementia can all create serious complications that require immediate attention to correct. If you’ve noticed a loved one struggling with symptoms, it can do a world of good to have a medical professional nearby to provide medications, comfort, and support.
2. Increasing number of falls or accidents
Fall are no problem when we’re young, but they can be serious as we get older. If your family member has recently fallen or experienced other types of accidents, they might need a caregiver on standby to help them out. Remember, nearly every elderly adult falls at some point. Make sure your family member has support before the damage is done.
3. Changes in behavior
If your family member has recently lost weight, gotten confused during normal activities, or has just seemed “off” in some way, it could be indicative of more serious problems. Watch out for sudden changes in behavior. Health issues like dementia can progress slowly and decrease a person’s ability to function; this could mean anything from behaving erratically during conversations to withdrawing from long-time social groups. Be on the lookout for these issues—a caring presence in the home can go a long way towards solving these problems.
4. Unhealthy or strange diets
While your family member might stock the freezer full of TV dinners because they’re easy to prepare, be aware that unhealthy diets are a warning sign that more comprehensive care is needed. Processed foods are convenient, but they aren’t healthy. If your family member only eats quick meals like these, it could be a sign that they no longer have the energy or physical capability to prepare fresh, wholesome meals. If this is the case, an at-home caregiver can be the best way to get them the foods that will help them stay happy and healthy.
5. Signs of neglect in the home
Are piles of unopened mail stacked up in the corner? Has it been months since the floor has been vacuumed? Do pets appear out of sorts or untended? Cluttered, disorganized, or dirty home environments are a red flag that your family member can no longer keep up basic maintenance. This type of mess can lead to more germs in the environment and make it harder for your aging family member to function; this is the perfect time to discuss in-home care options.
Above all, be sensitive to your family member’s feelings as you discuss home care options. Nobody likes losing autonomy or feeling like a burden, but with the right care professionals behind you, you can guarantee that your family members stay safe, secure, and happy in their golden years.
If you’re interested in finding an agency for home care assistance, please give us a call or visit our national home care registry online.