From: Home Care Assistance via e2ma.net
As our loved ones age, they may face frailty, memory loss or chronic diseases and lose their independence over time. Everyday tasks such as cooking, running errands or bathing can become increasingly difficult. Home care services can help an older adult maintain his or her safety and wellbeing, while simultaneously preserving his or her independence.
- Increasing Forgetfulness. You might notice that dad is always searching for his car keys or mom has trouble remembering appointments. Though it is natural for older adults to become more forgetful, forgetfulness could also be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
- Messy Home. You might notice that the garbage is not being taken out, dishes are left undone or laundry is piling up. A messy home may indicate that activities of daily living (ADLs) such as cooking and cleaning have become too difficult for your loved one to manage.
- Lack of Nutrition. Cupboards that contain multiples of the same item may indicate that the person forgot what they had at home when they were out grocery shopping. Expired foods or a freezer full of TV dinners could suggest cooking has become challenging; help with grocery shopping or meal preparation could be beneficial.
- Poor Hygiene. You might notice that mom is no longer taking care of herself or dad hasn’t brushed his teeth in a few days. Poor hygiene could be the result of mild cognitive impairment or other conditions, including challenges with mobility or coordination.
- Falls or Injuries. You might notice bruising and other discoloration on the skin even though dad won’t admit to falling. Frequent falls could be a sign that your loved one has diminished motor skills, has difficulty walking or balancing by his or herself, or suffers from vertigo or nausea. A caregiver could provide mobility support and help monitor other symptoms to reduce fall risk.
- Changes in Personality. You might notice that mom has become withdrawn or moody and no longer enjoys the hobbies and activities she used to participate in regularly. Changes in personality can be indicative of Alzheimer’s or depression brought on by aging and loss of independence. A caregiver can provide essential companionship care and can help mom take a walk, visit the local senior center, or engage in a new hobby that promotes positive mental health.
- Social Isolation. You might notice that dad no longer makes any trips out of the house, keeps up with friends or goes for walks around the neighborhood. Social isolation can have many causes, but it could be a sign that your parents are having difficulty managing their declining conditions and are afraid to ask for help.
- Health Issues. If a loved one took a long time to recover from his or her most recent illness or currently has a progressive or chronic health condition, home care could help by monitoring conditions. A caregiver will take note of any changes in appearance, such as rapid weight gain or weight loss, and also ensure ADLs are properly supported to ensure a smooth recovery and to optimize wellbeing.
- Dangerous Driving/Accidents. Nicks or dents on your loved ones’ car could indicate difficulties with driving. Check to see whether a loved one wears a seatbelt, how easily he or she gets distracted and other safety precautions to evaluate if he or she needs help with transportation and errands.
- Second Opinions. If you are still unsure of the best option for your loved one, arrange for a social worker or professional geriatric care manager to visit for an informal evaluation. Adults are often more likely to share frailties or doubts with a professional than with his or her family members.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.