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Does My Elderly Parent Need Home Help?

The six signs that your loved one needs home help:

  • Lower standards of hygiene in the home
  • Lack of home maintenance
  • Poor personal care
  • Becoming less interested in activities and hobbies
  • Physical changes
  • Mental changes

Changes in your loved one’s physical or mental health can deteriorate quite slowly over time, so are not always noticeable immediately, but there are six key signs that you can look out for.

Below are some of the signs that you can look out for that may indicate that they need extra help or support with their everyday activities and that the time has come to arrange help or care at home for them.

Lower Standards of Hygiene in the Home

If you notice unwashed dishes in the sink, out-of-date foods in the fridge or a generally messy environment when your loved one has always kept the house clean and tidy, this could be a sign that some of the tasks of daily living are becoming too difficult for them. If your loved one needs help with living alone, it can be very difficult for them to admit they can no longer manage, so if you feel they would benefit from home help, you will need to broach the subject sensitively.

Lack of Home Maintenance

If there are simple home repairs that your loved would usually have carried out that they are no longer dealing with, this can be another indication that things are becoming difficult for your parent. If your loved one is no longer capable of fixing or employing someone to fix, things for them or just disregards that fact that a repair is needed, this is a sign that they need help.

Poor Personal Care

You may notice that your loved one is not taking the same care in their appearance as they always have. If for example, your mother has never left the house without her makeup but has suddenly stopped doing so, this is often a sign that she could use some help. It can get to the stage where you notice food stains down the front of clothes or other indications that your loved one is not as aware of their appearance as they were formerly.

While you may feel awkward about introducing the idea of elderly care to your parent, you may be surprised at their reaction and they may be quite relieved that you want to help them to resolve the problem. Arranging for some care at home at a relatively early stage will mean that as your loved one’s abilities decline, the carer will be able to step in when necessary to support them to maintain their independence and a good quality of life.

Dulcie’s Care Story

In this short video, Mary and Colin explain how Dulcie’s live-in Elder carer, Sarah, has become part of the family.

They discuss how live-in care has allowed Dulcie to stay independent in her own home, while making a new friend at the same time.

Becoming Less Interested in Activities and Hobbies

If you find your loved one has stopped going out with friends or attending clubs, this can be a sign that their mental state is changing. While it is not necessarily a symptom of dementia, a decrease in interest in the outside world can sometimes indicate that they are not as alert mentally as they once were.

Other reasons such as depression can be responsible for a lack of interest, so having companion care and someone to share their daily activities with can make a real difference.

In addition to motivating your loved one to resume their former activities, a carer could drive them to their club or accompany them on outings as well as provide support in the home.

Physical Changes

You may become aware that your loved one is gaining or losing weight. Weight loss could be a result of simply not bothering to cook and eat properly, or a result of eating fast foods rather than nutritious meals. In either case, it is a definite indication that home help could assist by preparing and serving healthy meals to your loved one and encouraging them to eat and drink properly.

Another change you may observe is an increase in unexplained injuries or bruises that may indicate that your loved one is experiencing falls. You may notice marks on walls, door jambs or furniture that show that your loved one is using them for support as they are walking.

If your parent appears to have difficulty in getting out of a chair or balance problems while walking around the house, this is a sign they need help with their mobility. A live-in carer will not only be able to assist with their mobility issues but will encourage them to keep mobile, liaise with health professionals where necessary and help your parent to remain as independent as possible.

Mental Changes

Sometimes friends or neighbours will be the first to alert you if your loved one is acting strangely at times. They may go out inappropriately dressed or at odd times of the day or night.

Sometimes they can appear confused or act aggressively for no reason. Other indications of changes in their mental condition can include missing appointments, having difficulty in performing routine tasks or showing poor judgment, such as falling for scams.

If you are worried that your loved one needs home care because they are living with dementia, you can rest assured that their live-in carer is trained and experienced to provide the appropriate dementia care necessary.

Home care can be arranged on a temporary basis if you are not sure that live-in care is the ideal solution. It may also be easier for your loved one to accept care as a short term measure initially, and you will then be able to assess the benefits care at home provides before choosing live-in help as a long-term solution.

The important thing is to strike a balance between supporting your loved one to be as independent as they can, but also ensuring that they are comfortable and safe in their home.

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