Aging and planning for in-home care is usually the last thing most people want to think about; however, having a basic plan in place can help alleviate unpleasant surprises down the road. One way to prepare for a loved one's or your own home care is by being aware of the signs and symptoms of challenges that come with aging. Everyday activities that were once routine may be neglected due to poor memory or simply because it's too difficult. Here are the top 10 signs that your loved one needs home care.
Signs Your Loved One Is Struggling
What begins as a missed dose of medicine or doctor's appointment may seem innocuous enough since everyone can slip from time to time. However, when it becomes confusion about which medication was taken or if at all, that forgetfulness can have serious consequences. Forgetfulness can compound into forgetting to pay bills, properly securing the home, getting lost in familiar surroundings, and unexplained bank withdrawals. What may seem like forgetfulness may actually be symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
2. Poor Personal Hygiene
Poor hygiene may be very apparent if your loved one has always been meticulous about their appearance. However, any deterioration in grooming habits is worth noting as a possible sign that home care is needed. Dirty and untidy hair, unbrushed teeth, dirty clothes, body odor, and dirty hands and nails are warning signs that personal care has become too much of a challenge without assistance.
3. Poor Housekeeping & Lawn Care
While people have varying degrees of tolerance for what level of clean is acceptable in their homes, it's cause for concern when those standards fall noticeably below the norm. More clutter than normal, stacks of newspapers and dirty dishes, piles of dirty clothes, and dirty surfaces indicate your loved one is struggling to maintain daily responsibilities. By the same token, a lawn that's fallen from a neat appearance not only indicates that it may be too much for your senior to accomplish alone, but it may also invite break-ins and vandalism.
4. Improper Nutrition
Your senior may not have the ability to properly prepare regular meals that provide appropriate nourishment. Managing kitchen tasks may be the culprit, or it could be that planning meals and getting to the grocery is a struggle. Lack of proper nutrition and hydration has negative physical, mental, and emotional repercussions. A can offer input on healthy meal selections as well as provide assistance with shopping and preparation.
5. Depression & Isolation
If you've noticed your loved one seems irritable or sleep patterns have changed drastically, it may by an indication that something is amiss. Significant changes in emotional states and social patterns may be indicative of depression, isolation, or other health concerns. A professional caregiver provides companionship and a reliable resource to help keep your senior's life more balanced.
6. Illness or Surgical Recovery
Sudden bouts of illness or recovery from a surgery may be a sign that your loved one is in need of extra assistance at home. During this time, they can be vulnerable to developing infection or other diseases and are at a higher risk of hospital readmission. A homecare service can provide assistance with personal hygiene, medication reminders, housekeeping, and meal preparation to help reduce the likelihood of hospital readmission or further illness.
7. Inability to Drive Safely
Earning a driver's license expressed a significant rite of passage into adulthood. As such, asking your senior to relinquish the car keys for safety sake can feel like a major blow to their independence. Instead of allowing your loved one to continue driving, however, it may be time to have the difficult conversation about receiving assistance to get to and from appointments and errands.
8. Unsteady Mobility
Body weakness, poor eyesight, imbalance, medications, vitamin D deficiency, and household hazards can all contribute to your senior falling. In fact, the CDC reports that 3 million older adults are hospitalized each year as a result of falling, most resulting in hip fractures or brain injuries. Help ensure that your senior’s home is safe from potential hazards and seek equipment and aids as needed to help them maintain their balance while walking.
9. Major Health Concerns
If your loved one suffers from chronic illnesses, they may require regular trips to the hospital for IV treatments or dialysis. Typically, seniors with chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to developing other conditions. Being at higher risk means that these seniors could benefit from extra care and attention from family members or even professional caregivers.
10. Broken Appliances
Some broken appliances are simply a matter of inconvenience. Others, however, can negatively impact your senior's health. A broken refrigerator, for instance, limits the quality of food and safety of storing it. A lack of proper heat and air conditioning create very real health hazards. If any broken major appliances have gone without repair or replacement, you may want to question your loved one's ability to handle the home's maintenance.
Addressing These Signs
Many of these signs of aging can be addressed with extra assistance at home. Often, providing this care can be difficult for family members, who often have their own lives and challenges to worry about as well. If family members are unable to assist aging seniors, Caring Senior Service can help.
We provide seniors with the ability to maintain an independent and safe lifestyle. Our network of private-duty caregivers offers non-medical services to help seniors remain happy, healthy, and at home. We recognize that each senior has different needs, so our services are personalized to meet the needs of our clients. Our professionals are available for short-term care and extended services.
To learn more about whether it’s time for home care, review our free downloadable assessment: 10 Warning Signs that a Senior Needs Home Care.