5 Signs Your Elderly Parents Need a CaregiverFebruary 18, 2021
Do Your Elderly Parents Need a Caregiver?
Visiting your elderly parents living at home can be a mixed bag emotionally. For those who had a good relationship with their parents growing up; it can be difficult to see them deteriorate physically, mentally and cognitively. You don’t want to admit that the people who raised you and on whom you’ve depended your whole life won’t be there forever. It can be even more troubling for those with a more complicated relationship with their parents. Whether you visit your aging parents frequently or only a few times a year, it can be difficult to assess their needs. So how can you figure out if they need some kind of help?
Recognizing How Many Seniors Need Home Care Assistance :
It’s important to understand that elderly parents needing care at home isn’t unique. According to the Census Bureau, there were 54.2 million seniors in the US as of 2019. While only 4-5% of seniors live in nursing homes or other congregate facilities, AARP estimates that 52% of seniors need assistance with daily living. In an overwhelming majority of cases, a family member is the one giving care, but that may not be possible or feasible for you. Having a professional in-home caregiver can ease your parents’ burden while providing you with peace of mind. But how do you know if your parents need care?
Signs that Your Elderly Parents May Need Help at Home
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends that when you do visit your elderly parents at home (some of these may be recognizable over the phone, but many think it’s best to see for yourself), look for the following signs they may need care:
Lack of personal care
What to look for: Are your parents losing a significant amount of weight? Have their personal hygiene habits declined noticeably? Are the clothes they wear generally clean and odor free?
What it can mean: Lack of personal care can represent an undiagnosed physical disability that they’ve chosen to hide, or it can be a sign of cognitive decline. In some cases, it can be a sign of depression. They may need help with some personal care tasks.
What to look for: Are your elderly parents having memory problems? Do they forget the names of friends and relatives consistently? Are the clothes they are wearing unsuitable for the weather? Do they leave the refrigerator open or the stove on?
What it can mean: While any cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s must be diagnosed by a medical professional, it can be apparent to someone who knows the elderly person well that they have declined. Experts suggest that you speak (with your parents’ knowledge, of course) with friends, neighbors, and other family members to see if they have noticed any sort of decline or confusion, and contact you if they do notice anything that concerns them. Having someone visit and interact with them regularly can be useful.
Inability to attend to housecleaning
What to look for: We all deal with some clutter in our homes on occasion, but has your parent stopped cleaning certain rooms of the house? Is the kitchen or bathroom in good repair and clean?
What it can mean: Lack of housekeeping can represent either a physical or emotional issue. It may be that an undiagnosed illness or condition robs your elderly parent of the energy necessary to complete tasks, or it can be a sign of depression that keeps them from doing things that need to be done. Assistance with housekeeping is a common need with elderly people living at home.
What to look for: Many elderly people have a collection of some sort, be it coins or model trains, but hoarding is different. Are there stacks of old newspapers or magazines collecting in your parents’ home? Have they kept old mail, bills or other documents that are no longer relevant? Even if they do have a collection of some sort, has it affected the physical space that they live in (i.e., are there rooms or areas of the house that are inaccessible)?
What it can mean: Beyond just the clutter, hoarding can pose a serious threat to and elderly person’s health and safety. A 2001 study found that hoarding can interfere with basic hygiene, and may cause further harm to the person.
Failure to seek medical attention or take medications
What to look for: Ask your elderly parents about recent doctor visits, and medications they take. Do they shrug off the topic? Are there expired medications in their cabinets? Do they deny having medical issues that seem to need attention?
What it can mean: As with many of the other signs that an elderly person needs help at home, this can be a sign of either a physical ailment that keeps them from seeking care, or an emotional or cognitive issue that prevents them from getting the help they need. It may also be that they need medication reminders.
What Should I Do If My Elderly Parents Need Help Living At Home?
Many elderly parents living at home may be reluctant to seek help on their own. It may be necessary to convince them that they need to have some help. But it’s important to help them figure out what kind of help is right for their needs, whether it’s a nursing home, assisted living, or having an in-home caregiver.
For many elderly people who have chosen to live at home (sometimes referred to as “aging in place”), nursing homes and assisted living facilities are out of the question. But having a professional in-home caregiver visit them may be an easier topic to discuss, because it requires much less effort on their part, and they can continue living independently.
Home Care Powered by AUAF Assists Your Elderly Parents with the Help they Need
Our dedicated caregivers, case managers and professionals will help you and your elderly parents every step of the way, all at no cost to you or your parents. From personal care to light housekeeping to medication reminders, we can provide help. Call us at 773-274-9262 or contact us to get started.
In-Home Care Precautions During COVID-19
We provide care to vulnerable senior populations. That is why we are taking extra precautions when continuing to provide service and care. Staff is receiving additional guidance when they are providing home care or any other face-to-face visits. This comes in the form of a COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire. There are also a variety of other precautions we are taking for our staff and home care recipients during this time.
We take the safety and care of all those we reach very seriously and are doing all that we can to stay informed about best practices during this time.
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