Sometimes it can be difficult to consider hiring an at home caregiver for an aging family member. It can be hard to accept that they are getting to a point in life where they cannot be as self-sufficient as they were a few years ago. The thought of trusting someone else to care for your parents with as much love and compassion as you would is often a very challenging task to achieve. As adults with our own daily responsibilities, it is usually very difficult to be present enough to provide the level of care and supervision required to ensure your loved one’s safety and happiness every day. Accepting all of these concerns as they present themselves in your life is easier said than done, but it is absolutely crucial to welcome these concerns and plan accordingly. Home care provides the care and companionship you want for your mom or dad, and lifts the stress of worrying about them every day off your shoulders. But what are the warning signs that it may be time to hire at-home help for your loved one? The “silly” mistakes or forgotten responsibilities could be signs of a much more serious issue than simply experiencing a moment of error.
Some of the most obvious signs that a loved one could be needing more help at home are simple but uncharacteristic changes in their life. Some of the most common signs are spoiled food left in the fridge for extended periods of time or mail that has been sitting on the counter unopened for weeks. Bank notices of bounced checks or overdue bills and late payments and missing important or regular appointments are also very common. If you go over to your parents’ home and notice piles of dirty laundry or clutter building up around the house, it is more than likely that they can no longer keep up with basic household chores and responsibilities the way they used to. Unfortunately, it is also a common occurrence to see unexplained dents and scratches on mom or dad’s car and for them to be unable to explain where they came from or even remember driving the car anywhere.
Oftentimes, as a person ages, their personal hygiene begins to decline and the thought of taking care of one’s physical needs becomes less urgent. You may notice your mom isn’t keeping up with her usual haircut or styling it every day the way she used to. Dad may have strong body odor, dirty fingernails or feet, and unexplainable bruises and scrapes on his body from not bathing every day and not making the conscious effort to be careful around the house. Drastic changes in weight are also a sign that your loved one may need someone with them consistently to help. Drastic weight loss could be a sign that they are simply not eating enough, whether it be a lack of available food, the inability to cook for themselves, or simply forgetting to eat, it is vital for an elderly person to maintain a healthy diet in order to support their immune system and basic body functions. On the other end of the spectrum, rapid and extreme weight gain or obesity can be just as dangerous to an elderly person. Excess weight can lead to diabetes, congestive heart failure, and many other illnesses. The weight can also put strenuous pressure on the body’s joints, which typically become more frail with age already. Arthritis is much more severe in overweight people and combining that with the typical effects of aging on the body can put your loved one at higher risk of a serious injury or fall. If you notice that your loved one has put on an excessive amount of weight, it is important to recognize this as a sign that they may need more help and supervision every day. This can be a very sensitive subject to discuss with your aging parents, which is totally understandable. No one wants to be told that they have put on weight, or be made to feel like they are not responsible enough to care for themselves. As difficult as this conversation may be to have, it is crucial to explain the dangers and risks to their health in a way that does not come off as offensive, but instead from a place of care and love. One of the most urgent and alarming signs that a loved one requires daily assistance is an injury resulting from a fall or other dangerous situation that occured in the home, especially if they live alone. This is a very serious problem that must be remedied as soon as possible for the safety of your family member. If grandma or grandpa falls somewhere in their home and cannot get up on their own or get to a phone to call for help, the potential result of this situation is devastating to even think about.
Ultimately, it is very important to be aware of your loved one’s typical daily routine and way of living, and to be able to recognize uncharacteristic changes in these habits and behaviors. As difficult as it may be to accept that they are reaching an age where independence could place them in a situation where they are at risk of serious injury or another age-related issue, it is crucial to consider their quality of life and well-being over anything else. Home care can offer cost efficient help to your loved one without the stress and anxiety of completely uprooting their life by moving them into some kind of care facility where they are more likely to feel uncomfortable or scared for their remaining time in this life. We all want peace and comfort for those we love, and thanks to the assistance offered from home care providers, it is simpler than ever to cater to the needs of our loved ones without adding any stress or negative situations to their lives.