The baby boomer generation is aging, and with that comes concerns from their adult children. How do you know when your parents need some help? Here are some signs that might mean it's time to consider a home care service for your parent(s). If you see any of these signs, you'll also want to speak to your parent's physician, as some of them can indicate depression, dementia, or other health problems that need to be addressed.
Decline in Housekeeping
If your parents have always kept their home clean and neat, and you begin to see piles of newspapers, dirty laundry scattered around, signs of pest infestation, or just usual clutter, it could mean he/she is having trouble getting housework done and could use some help with everyday chores.
Decline in Grooming
Wearing dirty clothes, not washing hair, unbrushed teeth or other declines in personal grooming are a warning sign you should pay attention to. Many older adults are afraid of falling in the tub, others may be suffering from pain that makes daily self-care difficult, and still others may not be able to see or smell well enough to recognize poor grooming. All can indicate they may need some help.
You're Worried About Safety
Worrying about your parent's ability to perform everyday tasks safely is a major indicator that some help at home might be needed. Whether you're worried about slips and falls, safety while driving, ability to prepare meals without starting a fire, or ability to read prescription medication bottles, if you're at all worried about your mom or dad's safety, get in touch with a home care agency and your parent's physician.
Change in Diet
Old age can bring changes in diet, and those are not nessasirly a problem. If, however, you have a parent who has always prepared his or her own home-cooked meals and suddenly starts living off TV dinners or takeout, you'll want to find out why. It could be related to fears of forgetting something on the stove, age-related loss of taste and smell, or even depression. Some help with cooking can help ensure your mom and/or dad gets the nutrition they need.
Other Signs of Trouble
Finally, you'll want to watch for other signs of trouble. Scorched pots and pans, for example, could mean forgetting things on the stove. Loss of interest in previously-enjoyed activities can signal depression or other health problems, items piled around the home present fall risks, and "wall walking" or moving from one piece of furniture to another while walking could mean your parent feels unstable on his or her feet and might need an assistive device.
Talking to your parents about home care may not be easy, but these services can prevent severe injuries or even death due to falls or other easily-avoided issues. If you or a loved one needs help please give us a call. We would love to come and talk to your parents about our in-home care services that can help them maintain their independence and quality of life.