Don’t Wait For an Injury or Incident Before Exploring Home Care Services
With an aging parent or loved one, signs of physical or cognitive decline are often subtle and accumulate gradually. People often wait until after an injury or medical emergency occurs before they consider in- home care services. Unfortunately, waiting too long usually requires more care than would otherwise have been needed, and the sudden urgency limits your options. So, look for the signs, and take a proactive approach to your or your loved one’s in-home care needs.
- Poor Hygiene: Wearing the same clothes for days at a time, putting off showers, and other hygiene issues are signs that your loved one is having difficulty managing their personal care and can lead to medical conditions.
- Missed Medications: Up to 75% of older adults reportedly make errors taking their meds. It can be a sign of short-term memory loss and poses a serious risk.
- Balance Issues: Each year, more than 1.6 million older U.S. adults go to emergency departments for fall-related injuries. Is your loved one dragging their feet when walking? Do they experience pain when sitting down or standing up? Any unexplained bruises that could be a signs of past falls?
- Forgetfulness: While mild forgetfulness is a normal part of aging, chronically missed appointments or late bill payments could be an early sign of a more serious memory issue. Asking the same question repeatedly, getting lost in familiar places, or not remembering well-known people are signs of more progressed cognitive decline.
- Low Mood: While your loved one may be capable of living on their own, loneliness can take a serious toll on a person’s physical and mental health. Low spirits, social disengagement, and the loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed are signs of depression.
- Decline in the Home Environment: Whether it’s expired food in the refrigerator, dirty dishes in the sink, unopened mail, laundry piling up, or general clutter and disrepair, a decline in the home environment might indicate that your loved one feels too overwhelmed and tired to keep up with household chores.
Reaching out for help can be challenging. People put it off for a variety of reasons: not knowing where to start, perceiving asking for support as a defeat, and uncomfortable family dynamics. Ironically, bringing caregiver support into the home earlier rather than in reaction to an emergency actually increases independence, wellbeing, and longevity. So, if your loved one is showing signs that they may benefit from additional domestic support, it may be time to start a conversation about in-home care.