Liz Greene discusses small signs your elderly parent may need home care and the steps you can take to provide senior solutions for the them.
It’s not always easy to admit we need help; but for our parents, it may be doubly so. The desire to stay in their own home — and the worry that their children may force them into assisted living — can lead to them refusing to acknowledge waning independence skills.
While it usually takes a medical crisis to prompt conversations about changing needs, you’ll likely notice the large signs signaling a decline in independence, such as lack of personal hygiene and increased forgetfulness. However, there are smaller clues that can help you avoid a medical emergency — you just have to know what to look for.
Here are three small signs your parents might need help.
An Unkempt Home
As they get older, your parents’ aches and pains begin to multiply. Repetitive motion, bending, stooping, and even walking can become so painful that they may avoid doing so altogether. This may lead to regular house chores and maintenance being pushed aside.
No matter what age you are, falling down can be embarrassing. For your parents, it’s hard to admit they can’t move around like they used to. Suddenly everything in their house becomes hazardous, from throw rugs and tile floors to getting out of bed and the shower.
Keep an eye out for bruises, bumps, scratches, burns, and compromised movement. These can be signs your parent could home modifications to help assist with decreased mobility. Ultimately, you want to make sure that your loved one is safe and able to live at home.
Lack of Interest in Hobbies
If your parents suddenly stop taking part in activities, whether they be social engagements or favored hobbies, this is a possible sign of depression. Depression is not uncommon in aging adults as illness, chronic pain, and physical disability can bring about feelings of despair.
Look for subtle signs, such as unexplained fatigue, low spirits, and a lack of energy. Don’t be afraid to ask your parents why they are no longer taking part in activities they used to enjoy. And whatever their answer, do what you can to help, whether it be consulting a doctor, or spending more time together.
How to Help
Have a kind, but candid, conversation with your parents — but be sure you don’t control the discussion. Find out which tasks have become more difficult and ask how you can help. It’s possible they might simply need help with meals, personal care, transportation, or light housecleaning.
You can find help in a number of places:
● In home physical therapy services
● Alternative transportation (to shuttle them to activities or appointments)
● A housekeeper
● A lawn service
● Senior caregivers
All of these services can extend your parents’ independence and aging at home with less risk. However, it’s important to keep communication open and let them know why you are worried and that you want to help.
Liz Greene is a writer and former preschool teacher. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene