10 Signs Your Loved One May Need Support in their Home
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Home care provides the foundation for aging at home, but how do you know when it is time for in-home care to start? In-home assistance should start as early as possible. There are many reasons for this. The most important is that the longer a family member goes without the care they need, the worse their health is likely to get. Introducing the idea of home care early will help with the transition. Start by being involved and being aware. Hiring caregivers through a home care agency can help with each and every one of the problems listed below.

10 Signs Your Loved One Needs Home Care

  1. A cluttered home. One indication that a loved one may need help is when the home is always untidy or dirty. This may include clutter, accumulations of garbage or recycling, dirty or unfolded laundry, and stacks of dirty dishes. Usually, a cluttered and unkempt home can indicate a problem with home maintenance as well. The grass may be overgrown or snow may not be shoveled. Lights or fire detectors are not replaced. Other safety issues may not be addressed in a safe and timely fashion.
  2. Poor personal hygiene. Declining hygiene can happen slowly over time. Notice your family member’s appearance and pay particular attention to body odor. Soiled clothing and piles of laundry are red flags. There could be memory or physical issues that make it challenging to stay clean.
  3. Problems driving. Driving is a touchy and difficult subject. Driving is the epitome of independence for most people. Look for signs it’s time for your parent to stop driving like traffic tickets, fender-benders, and dents on the vehicle. If possible, take a drive with your family member to observe first hand what their driving is like. Many people drive far beyond the point of what is considered safe because they don’t have alternative transportation. This problem can be solved by teaching them how to use ride-share apps like uber or showing them how to call a taxi.
  4. Extreme change in weight. A difference of 10% or more in body weight can signify a problem. Your family member may not be eating enough. Possible reasons include difficulty with meal preparation or depression. Show up at mealtime to observe your family member’s ability to cook. Take a look in the fridge for spoiling food.
  5. Confusion. Confusion and/or significant memory problems may be an indication that someone has dementia. It may also mean that there is an underlying medical problem or mismanagement of medications. Look for problems like getting lost, forgetting routine tasks, and mismanaging finances.
  6. Difficulty managing medications or following doctor’s orders. Mismanaging or neglecting to take prescribed medications can have significant medical and cognitive consequences. Take a look at your loved one’s medications to see if they are organized in a weekly pillbox. Look for any expired medications. Often, a physician’s office will print out an aftercare summary with specific instructions on home treatment. If these directions are not followed, there may be a deeper problem. An in-home caregiver may be able to help with managing medications if your loved one is having trouble doing so.
  7. Loneliness. Social isolation is an epidemic among older adults. Loneliness can have a profound impact on someone’s emotional and physical well-being. It may also be a byproduct of depression, which could be caused by an inability to get out of the house or having no one to talk to.
  8. Falls. Frequent falls are a definite sign that something is wrong. Falls are the leading cause of disability for people over the age of 65. Falling can be due to a number of factors. Some of these include weakness, cognitive problems, or medication mismanagement. Falls can also occur due to the exacerbation of an existing medical problem. If a caregiver is not there to reduce this fall risk, your loved one may be faced with a much more serious problem.
  9. Problems with mobility. Mobility is not only confined to difficulty walking. It can mean challenges with dressing in the morning, bathing, transferring from the bed, or on and off the toilet.
  10. Missed appointments. Missing doctor’s appointments can mean several things. There could be memory or organizational problems. Perhaps your family member is afraid to drive or has forgotten how to get to a specific location.

Age in Place with a Professional Caregiver

Aging in place is possible, and according to most seniors, preferable. Home care provides the foundation for this to occur. Safety and security are necessary for an aging relative to stay at home. The beauty of home care is that depending on the level and types of care, hours can be tailored to meet individual needs. Care can be a couple of hours a day up to 24 hour care. Tasks can range from companionship to medication reminders to assistance with dressing and bathing.

Home Care Assistance embraces the belief that seniors can live well at home and remain independent in a positive and healthy setting. Consider the potential hazards an older adult may face living at home alone when selecting home care services. Learn what level of care is best for your loved one when evaluating multiple caregivers or agencies. Most importantly, plan your search early. Don’t delay your search to find the best care for your loved one until after an emergency has occurred.

Home Care Assistance believes in the inherent dignity and worth of each individual. As your family member ages, consider their safety, security, and well-being. Have a conversation early about your concerns and the possibility of home care to address those concerns. Don’t wait until a crisis or emergency occurs. Home Care Assistance is here to help and answer any questions you have about our team of caregivers and how to get the process started.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Lambert is the owner and president of Lambert Care Management, LLC which provides care management for older and disabled adults. She is the co-author of, Aging with Care: Your Guide to Hiring and Managing Caregivers at Home (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018). She has worked for over 20 years in the senior-related industry including mental health, marketing and guardianship. She has a passion for topics related to health, wellness and resilience as we age.

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Home Care Assistance can help you or a loved one today. Contact us now for your complimentary in-home assessment.

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