Your parents have taken care of you all your life, and now you’re thinking, “I need help with my aging parent.” They’ve probably even helped you during your young adult years. As they age, the tables begin to turn, and it may be time to start caring for elderly parents.
In the beginning, the field of senior care services is unknown territory. With no one to guide you, it can be difficult to know where to look for help. Many adult children quickly feel like they’re out of their leagues.
It’s common for concerned family members to have trouble navigating senior care services. When it affects your parents, you need insight and guidance when you see signs that your aging parent needs help.
How to Identify That My Older Parents Need Help
Aging slows people down, and often, it becomes more difficult to care for themselves and their homes. You may notice warning signs over time or all at once. If the lightbulbs are burned out and they’re not being replaced, the lawn is unkempt, and the exterior paint is peeling, it’s time to think about the fact that your older parents need help.
Any number of signs could show that things aren’t going well at home for your parents. They may not be willing or even able, to tell you that they’re no longer able to keep up with things. The important things are to keep a keen eye, communicate about your observations, and seek help when you need to.
Caring for Elderly Parents
You’re better acquainted with your parents’ habits and lifestyles than anyone else. What’s commonplace for someone else, may be an area of concern for your parents. Checking up on your parents is more important than ever since the onset of COVID-19. Quarantining and isolation in the name of health separates seniors from society even more than normal.
How to Spot That You Mom or Dad Needs Home Care
When you spend time with your parents, if something seems off, it probably is. If the issues on the following list sound familiar, your parents probably need home care:
- Late or collection notices in the mail or utilities being shut off
- Appliances that don’t work and they’re not cooking or eating.
- Mood changes—mild or extreme
- Home is cluttered and garbage is building up
- Not keeping up with laundry and cleaning
- Signs of fatigue or depression
- Clothing is torn, worn, dirty, or ill-fitting
- Moldy or unsanitary food in the refrigerator
- Misplacing keys or wallets
- Forgetting to take medications
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Missing doctor appointments or other activities
- Noticeable weight loss without reason
- Poor hygiene or body odor
- Difficulty walking or frequent falling
- Frequent injuries or bruising
- Dents or damage to their car or car accidents
What do you do when you notice some of these issues with your loved ones? To begin with, open up a conversation about it, as tough as that may be. After getting the issues out in the open, the next conversation should center around their needs.
Assess Your Parent’s Needs
Seniors’ needs fall under several different categories. That makes it very challenging to make a list of the issues they need help with.
Get out a notebook and write these headings down.
- Safety at home
- Medical or medication needs
- Cognitive impairment
- Hygiene and personal care-bathing, dressing, etc.
- Shopping, cooking, and meal preparation
Try to have an honest conversation about specific tasks that they need help with. Don’t forget that family members need support as well.
Finding Help for My Loved One
Taking the first steps toward getting help can be extremely overwhelming. Learning what services are available will help to relieve you of much of your fear and anxiety.
This partial list of senior services should give you some encouragement.
- Senior care managers-They have vast experience in the senior care industry. They’re typically well acquainted with senior care services. Their experience could save you a lot of anxiety and frustration.
- In-home care-Hiring a caregiver to come in and provide some type of senior care help.
- Assisted living-Senior living communities often offer varying levels of care from minimal care to advanced care and everything in between.
- Geriatric physicians-Doctors that care for seniors with age-related conditions.
- Area Agency on Aging-This is an agency that’s funded by federal, state, and local governments that provides senior care services at the county level. It’s a good place to start to learn more about the senior care services and how to access them.
Watch for signs that your parents need help and take a few steps to put the right help in place. The right care may be more available than you think.