It can be a difficult topic to broach: When is it time to talk about in-home senior care for an aging relative? If you’re concerned about the health and wellbeing of a parent, grandparent or other loved one, you want to be sure that they really need the help before suggesting it. After all, it can be painful for an older person to admit that they need assistance doing things that used to be easy or that they can’t get around as well as they used to.
Here are five telltale signs that it’s time to consider in-home senior care for the elderly person in your life:
- Severe arthritis makes it impossible to grip things. Arthritis can get worse with age, especially for women. If it’s becoming too painful for a senior to grasp eating or writing utensils, he or she can benefit from help doing daily activities. Cooking, getting dressed and even hanging the channel with the remote control can all be painfully difficult.
- Poor eyesight or reaction time keeps them off the road. If a senior has given up a driver’s license for safety reasons, he or she may need help running errands. A visiting caregiver can also provide much-needed company to reduce the feelings of isolation and depression that can result from being shut in.
- There are obvious difficulties with hygiene. If you notice a marked increase in clutter or dirt around the house or spoiled food in the fridge, it could be because keeping up around the house is too difficult. Declining personal hygiene (body odor, tangled or unwashed hair, soiled clothing or bedding) is also a major sign that a senior can no longer care for him- or herself and may need in-home senior care.
- Prescription medication is not being taken and/or refilled. Check the medicine cabinet or pill boxes to see if medication is being used appropriately. If not, a visiting nurse or other in-home caregiver can provide professional help with medications — a crucial aspect to maintaining good health.
- Falls and accidents occur frequently. Many seniors will try to laugh off a slip-and-fall accident, but if you notice increased clumsiness or difficulty with coordination, it’s cause for concern. Decreased balance can lead to a major injury in a fall, and seniors take much longer to recover from broken bones than young people. You may not be around to witness an accident, so be on the lookout for unexplained cuts or bruises as well. If it continues, you’ll want to get a caregiver to provide in-home senior care to reduce the chances of a more serious injury.
- Memory loss is becoming harder to deal with. A “senior moment” or two of forgetfulness is perfectly normal, but if your loved one is forgetting important information or is getting lost frequently, it’s time to consider the possibility of Alzheimer’s, which requires special care and support that can be facilitated with in-home senior care.
If you notice one or more of these signs in an aging loved one, it’s time to consider their safety and wellbeing at home alone. It’s natural for seniors to be resistant to asking for or receiving help, but many will be open to accepting in-home senior care. A visiting caregiver allows seniors to remain in familiar surroundings, which will increase their comfort and leave a sense of autonomy and agency intact. The caregiver can also offer whatever level of help is required so seniors can continue their daily activities.
If you’re concerned about your aging loved ones being alone, don’t wait. Contact a qualified caregiver to find out more about in-home senior care today.