Does My Elderly Parent Need Home Help?

We walk you through the top signs and symptoms of a person who might benefit from care at home

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It can be difficult to know when to start looking for care for your parents, but there are a few telltale signs to keep an eye out for.

You may, for example, want to consider looking into elderly care if your mum and dad are:

– Struggling to look after themselves and their home

– Losing motivation for the things they’ve always loved

– Diagnosed with a health condition

Home care means having someone on hand to provide support when they need it most. It’s a simple way to add to their lifestyle, and with live-in care, it’ll be on hand around the clock – and you can find a live-in carer in as little as 24 hours.

If they’re struggling to look after themselves and their home

The older your loved one gets, the more of a challenge everyday tasks can become.

Tasks like meal preparation. If you notice your mum or dad losing weight, it might be that they’re not be eating properly, or not cooking at all. And even if they are, their mobility might not be what it once was, upping the risks when they stretch for crockery or carry hot pans from one counter to another.

And tasks like getting washed and dressed. You might notice they’ve picked up some bruises from slipping over, or they might just open up about their concerns. These sorts of conversations can be a good way to nip any accidents in the bud, so do encourage them to talk to you as much as possible.

Their home, too, can show signs they’re not as on top of things as they once were. You might find unwashed dishes and unemptied rubbish piling up, or out-of-date food in the fridge. Or you might start to notice housekeeping duties they aren’t getting round to, like lightbulbs that need changing.

But a home carer can step in to take the reins on those everyday tasks so your mum and dad don’t have to. From preparing meals to changing lightbulbs, helping with personal care to doing the weekly shop – whatever needs doing to keep everything ticking over nicely, they’ll happily do it.

If they lose motivation for the things they love

Whether they love gardening or golfing, reading or rambling, your mum and dad should be able to keep doing what they enjoy best.

But if you notice them starting to lose interest in the things they’ve always enjoyed, there’s probably a reason behind it. It might be that they’re not be physically able enough to get out and about. Or it might be a mindset thing, where they’re just finding it hard to muster enough motivation.

Just remember, having something to look forward to is more important than ever in old age. Your loved one’s passions can keep them not only in good shape, but in good spirits, too. So when you see them start to lose interest, it’s probably a sign that it’s time to bring in some home help.

An elderly carer’s responsibilities don’t end with housekeeping. They extend to helping your loved one get the most out of their day: by taking them where they need to go, by picking up the things they need, and by getting them to open up about why they’re just not in the mood.

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If they’ve been diagnosed with a health condition

A medical diagnosis doesn’t have to put a stop to a fulfilling life. It might just mean a new way of doing things.

When your loved one is diagnosed with a physically challenging condition, such as arthritis, they won’t be able to get around like they used to. And if they’re diagnosed with a mentally degenerative condition, such as dementia, they might find themselves getting confused or irritable more often.

You’ll need to find new coping strategies to make sure none of these problems get out of hand. This is where a qualified home carer can help. They can handle the more physically demanding responsibilities, like cooking, cleaning and running errands. And since they’re specially trained to look after those with cognitive issues, they’ll be able to help calm your mum or dad down if they start to get het up.

They’ll also advise on how you can adapt your mum or dad’s home to make it a safer, more relaxing place to be. You might be able to deal with physical limitations using stair lifts, bath rails and improved lighting, and cognitive ones with labelled cupboards, dementia-friendly items and more colourful decor.

It’s not just care it’s also peace of mind

“It is reassuring to know that my father is being cared for by someone who understands his needs and his dementia symptoms.”

Patricia, Norwich

What kinds of home care are there?

There are two kinds of home care: visiting and live-in.

Visiting carers pop in from time to time to see how your mum or dad is doing. They only visit for a few hours at a time on designated days, depending on the agreement you reach. And they take the reins on whatever it is you ask them to: everything from managing medication to doing the weekly shop.

Live-in carers move in with your loved one. This means they’re around to lend a hand during the day – again, with whatever needs doing – and during the night, too. Unlike home carers, your mum or dad is generally assigned one or two live-in carers, giving them a chance to build a more secure relationship.

Which type of home care you choose is up to you, and will depend on the needs of both the care recipient and your family. You’ll also want to consider costs. If you only need a few hours here and there, a visiting carer may be the way to go. But if you need someone around for the long haul, live-in care often works out cheaper.

Reference Guides

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