We all want to remain as independent as possible as we age, but for most there comes a time when a little help is needed. How can you know when that time comes.
Often elderly parents will assure you that they do not need any assistance at home; independence is very important to most people. It doesn’t even have to be that your parents need to move to a nursing home. Even short visits from an in-home caregiver could be all they need. If you’re not sure if at-home care is necessary, look for the following signs, which could indicate your parents need a little help:
Trouble Getting Around the Home
You may notice small signs that your parents can't get around like they used to. Balance and mobility are two of the things that may suffer as we age and this can be very dangerous for the elderly, especially if they live alone.
Look for signs of slowing down. See if they have difficulty getting up and down stairs and whether it has become necessary to hold on to something for balance. In many cases, their home is no longer suited for their current level of mobility. Keep an eye out for changes in their ability to move around the home.
Poorly Kept Home
It may become too difficult for your aging parents to keep the whole house clean on their own. If you notice that the home is dirtier than usual, then it’s a good idea to consider in-home care to help them keep their home clean and livable.
Signs to look for include dust in obvious spots, spoiled food in the fridge, overflowing garbage, etc. If your parents have been very tidy in the past, then this could be a sign they need some help at home with the more physical tasks.
Poor Personal Hygiene
Another sign that your aging parents need some in-home care is poor personal hygiene. Many aging individuals forget to take care of themselves and others simply have no interest in doing so.
If your parents are not taking care of themselves, they may have dirty, unkempt hair, unwashed clothing, or body odor. It is especially important that older individuals keep themselves clean to ward off disease, but if they are unable or unwilling, then it is certainly time to bring in someone who can help them. In-home caregivers offer a variety of services and will be able to assist them with bathing, remind them to take their medications, help them change outfits on a daily basis, and much more.
Forgetting Events or Missing Appointments
Most people will experience some level of forgetfulness as they age, and one consequence of this is missed appointments, phone calls, and significant events. If your parents are usually very good at remembering their schedule and the places they need to be, then this could be a sign they need some help. In some cases, it can even be a sign of the early stages of dementia.
As we get older, our bodies are more prone to easy bruising from interaction with the physical world. Your parents may want to consider quality at-home care if they have bruises, cuts and scrapes that they cannot explain. These injuries can be from falls, bumping into furniture, tripping, etc.
While many elderly individuals will swear that they can take care of themselves, at some point they will need to seek care from others. Whether it is in-home care, assisted living or something similar, it is a completely normal process of life and they should not be ashamed. If you have someone in your family that you think needs at-home care, then it is important to speak to them at their level of understanding and respect.
Let them know that your worries are coming from a place of love and care, and that you only want to help make their lives safer and more comfortable. There is nothing wrong with aging, but make sure to pay attention to the signs to give your aging parents the help they need.