As your parents grow older, you may begin to notice changes in their patterns that might be easily dismissed by an outsider, but as family, these actions send red flags to you that your loved one may need help with everyday activities and household chores. A change in behavior can serve as a warning sign that your parent is not thinking in the same manner as they once did, or they are not as physically capable of completing simple tasks as they once were. 6 warning signs that your parent needs elderly home help may include:
- Your parent, who is usually a meticulous housekeeper, has dirty dishes piled in the sink.
- Your father, who has always done the home repairs himself, either hires someone for a minor fix or disregards a needed repair altogether.
- Your mother, who you never knew to be without makeup even at 7 a.m., shows up for lunch with no makeup on, and in some instances looking a little disheveled.
- Tell-tale signs of a decline in mental agility may include missed appointments, unfilled prescriptions and a change in eating habits such as missed meals or loss of appetite.
- Changed relationship patterns such that friends and neighbors have expressed concerns. Or perhaps your loved one on occasion has exhibited inappropriate behavior by being unusually loud or quiet, paranoid or easily agitated.
- Your parent has decreased or stopped participating in activities that were previously important to them such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends or attending religious services.
By noticing these changes early on, you are able to take a proactive approach in getting your parent the elderly assistance they need to continue living at home as independently as possible, while maintaining a high quality of life. However, making the decision of whether your parent can continue to live on their own can prove to be difficult, especially when you factor in your relationship with them, past history, emotional issues, family roles and generational differences.
If you are unsure whether or not the changes in behavioral patterns you’ve witnessed are signs your parents need elderly home health care, consider hiring an eldercare professional, such as a geriatric care manager, to conduct an evaluation. As a family member, sometimes you are too close to the situation to have an objective point-of-view. Furthermore, there is a delicate balance to maintain between supporting your parents’ independence and ensuring their safety and well-being. A professional can provide that objective voice of reason you need to make such decisions.
Another possible approach to assessing the home help required by your loved one is to hire temporary elderly assistance. If your elderly parent is having surgery or was recently discharged from the hospital, this is a great opportunity to try out elderly home healthcare services as your parents are more inclined to accept short-term help while in recovery. Even if you plan to stay with them as they recover, the extra help can prove useful to both you and your parent. If you feel that your loved one may be in need of home care, want a professional evaluation or to try out an elderly home health care provider on a short-term basis, check out resources in your local area (a good starting place is your local Area Agency on Aging) or talk to a home healthcare company to begin exploring options. A little bit of help can go a long way.