As a family caregiver, one of the most challenging questions you’ll ever ask yourself is, “Is now the time to bring in home care assistance?” It’s natural to feel some resistance over sharing responsibilities with someone new, as well as being apprehensive over what the reaction from your loved one will be.
Experts have concluded that home care should begin as soon as the warning signs discussed below are evident. They indicate the longer your loved one goes without the care they need, the worse their health is likely to get.
Here are eight signs your loved one needs home care. Hiring a professional caregiver through a home care agency can help with each of them.
What to Watch For
1. A cluttered home
Some people have lived in a state of perpetual clutter their entire life, but if this is something that has just become noticeable with your loved one, it’s something to watch closely.
Watch for accumulations of garbage or recyclables, stacks of dirty dishes, and dirty or unfolded laundry. Also, check out their personal safety items – are smoke detectors and lights not being replaced?
2. Poor personal hygiene
Declining hygiene can be tough to notice because it typically happens slowly over time. Take notice of your loved one’s appearance. Is there body odor? Are they wearing soiled clothing? Is the laundry piling up?
3. Problems driving
This can be a touchy subject because driving is often the last symbol of independence for seniors.
Look for traffic tickets, fender-benders, and dents on the vehicle. If possible, have you or another family member go for a drive with them to see what their driving is like. If it’s time to take the keys away, teach them how to call for a taxi or use a ride-sharing app, like Uber or Lyft.
4. An extreme weight change
If you’re noticing a 10% or more loss of weight, it can indicate a problem. Your loved one may not be eating enough because of difficulty with meal preparation, or it can sometimes be depression. Try to be at a few meals and observe their ability to cook. Also, take a peek in the fridge for food that is spoiling.
Is your loved one forgetting routine tasks, getting lost, or mismanaging finances? It may indicate the onset of dementia or another underlying medical condition.
It can also be mismanagement of medications, which can be particularly dangerous. An in-home caregiver can help manage medications if your senior is having difficulty doing that.
Social isolation is an epidemic among aging adults. Loneliness can adversely affect a senior’s emotional and physical well-being. It can also bring on depression as a byproduct of not being able to get out of the house or not having anyone to talk with.
Frequent falls are a big red flag that something is wrong. Falls are the number one cause of disability for people 65 and older. Falling can be caused by weakness, medication mismanagement, or cognitive problems. Caregivers can reduce the risk of falls, preventing your loved one from being faced with a much more serious problem.
8. Missed appointments
Missing doctor’s appointments can mean there is an underlying problem, such as organizational or memory problems, fear of driving, or forgetting how to get to a specific location.
When It’s Time for Home Care Assistance, Let Us Help
Help at Home Senior Care believes that most seniors can live well at home and remain happy and independent in a healthy and positive setting. However, they face potential hazards when living alone, which is where an experienced home care agency can help.
Help at Home will help determine the level of care that is best for your loved one. It may be a matter of being there for them a couple of hours per day or several days per week. We continually evaluate our clients’ needs and work with their families to provide consistent, compassionate home care.
We’ve been providing personalized in-home care in Chevy Chase for over 20 years, and we serve the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC metro areas.