For most people, knowing when it’s time to think about hiring home care for an aging parent is a painful thought. In most cases, our parents age slowly, going from the joyful, attentive caregivers we’ve enjoyed all our lives to distracted, forgetful people we don’t fully understand.
Maybe you’ve noticed that your mom has begun to tell you the same stories over and over again, or that your dad frequently leaves the stove on. Maybe you have a parent who’s started to get lost, or who is having a hard time dressing, eating, or cooking on their own.
Whatever the case may be, watching your parents age can be difficult, and worrying about their care be gut-wrenching. Unfortunately, it’s critical to face these realities to ensure that your parent is getting the care he or she needs to age gracefully, with dignity, and with support, and recognizing the signs that indicate your parent needs in-home care is the first step.
20 Reliable Signs That Your Parent Needs In-Home Care
No matter how old your parent may be, or whether he or she has been ill up until this point, these 20 signs are a sure-fire indicator that the time to hire in-home care has arrived.
1. Your Parent Has Begun To Miss Meetings, Appointments, And Obligations
Forgetfulness is a dangerous sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and parents who have started to miss important social events may be exhibiting the early signs of memory loss. Even if your parent’s memory is still sharp as a tack, missing scheduled appointments can indicate embarrassment about a difficulty or inability to get dressed, or challenges driving, navigating public transit, or walking, all of which indicate a need for additional support.
2. Difficulty Standing on His or Her Own
If you’ve noticed that your parent is having a hard time standing up out of his or her favorite chair, it’s time to hire in-home help. While this may seem like a small symptom that can be attributed to arthritis or stiff joints, it’s important to remember that, without help, your parent could easily be stuck for hours or days if they can’t get up on their own.
3. Bruising or Wounds on Your Parent’s Body
When seniors start to have trouble walking, dressing, or cleaning on their own, it tends to show up as unexplained bruises or wounds on the person’s body. Evidence of falls, slips, or accidents in the home, these unexplained injuries can be alarming to family members.
Although your parent may play them off as nothing, it’s your job to know that any parent who is being injured in his or her own home needs some level of in-home care and assistance.
4. Poor Home or Personal Hygiene
Maybe you notice that the trash hasn’t been taken out in days or that your mom’s refrigerator is full of rotting, spoiled food. Perhaps you’ve begun to notice that your father isn’t showering or shaving anymore.
While symptoms like this may seem like simple forgetfulness, it’s important to remember that rotten food in the refrigerator may indicate that your parent isn’t eating and that poor personal hygiene can put your parent at risk of infections and other unpleasant symptoms.
Forgetfulness can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. When a parent starts forgetting critical things, like whether or not they’ve taken vital medication or how to turn off the stove, the condition can quickly become dangerous.
Parents who get lost, frustrated, or angry are displaying confusion. An early sign of Alzheimer’s and dementia, this symptom warrants home care and additional assistance.
7. Evidence of Bathroom Accidents
Soiled pants or underwear, messed bathrooms, and an unpleasant body odor are all signs that your parent is having difficulty using the bathroom on his or her own, and needs compassionate assistance to maintain their dignity and quality of life.
8. Decline in Housekeeping
If your mom has always kept a neat home, but now the sink is piled high with dishes, and the unopened mail is spilling throughout the entryway, she’s likely having trouble managing her housework, and could use additional assistance.
9. Signs of Financial Trouble
Financial trouble is one thing that frequently befalls seniors without their friends and family noticing. If your parent has begun to bounce checks or get many late payment notices, forgetfulness may be playing a part in making the finances harder to manage.
Seclusion is a dangerous thing for seniors. In addition to increasing a senior’s risk of mortality, isolation can have a negative impact on a senior’s health and contribute to the development of dementia and cognitive decline. If your elderly parent has begun to isolate him or herself, hiring in-home help can prevent the situation from worsening.
11. Weight Loss Or Gain
Extreme and sudden weight loss or gain can be a sign that your parent is having trouble feeding him or herself, forgetting whether they’ve eaten, or eating for emotional comfort.
12. Extreme Moodiness
Severe mood swings or moodiness can be a sign that your parent is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or depression. Hiring an in-home caregiver can ensure that your parent has someone around to monitor the symptoms, and sound the alarm if they get worse or change drastically.
13. Car Accidents
For seniors, losing their right to drive can be a devastating occurrence. Unfortunately, many seniors continue to drive past the point where it’s medically advisable, and they put themselves and others at risk as a result. If you notice dents or scratches in your parent’s care, he or she may need additional assistance to ensure their safety and well-being.
14. Poor Medication Management
According to MdMag, most older adults in the U.S. fill between 9-13 prescriptions on an annual basis. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that these medications can become difficult or impossible to manage as age and forgetfulness set in. Fortunately, an in-home caregiver can help seniors manage their medication correctly, and ensure that they’re not duplicating doses or taking the improper amount of any given medication.
It’s not uncommon for seniors to suffer from depression as they age, especially when their spouse has passed away, and they’re alone. In these cases, an in-home caregiver can help by providing companionship and support.
If your parent has begun to wander out of the house and get lost, in-home help is critical, both for the senior’s safety and your peace of mind.
In some cases, in-home assistance can help elderly parents who are just bored and in need of more consistent companionship. In addition to performing household duties, in-home caregivers can also play games with seniors, accompany them to social events and appointments, and help them learn new things.
18. Difficulty With Mobility
It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience difficulty with mobility as they age, and an in-home caregiver can make it easier for your parent to get around and maintain his or her freedom.
19. Dangerous Behavior
If your parent has begun to exhibit dangerous behavior or suicidal tendencies, hiring in-home help can give them the support they need to be happier and more fulfilled.
20. Poor Personal Care
Personal care is critical not only for your parent’s well-being but also for their outlook and sense of self-worth. With this in mind, hiring an in-home caregiver to help your parent uphold their personal care routine can be critical.
In-Home Care: The First Step to the Rest of Your Parent’s Life
While the decision to hire in-home care for an aging parent can be difficult, taking the first step is typically the smartest way to ensure your parent ages gracefully, with all the care, support, and assistance he or she needs to be happy and healthy throughout.