Many times, family caregivers have to make the hard decision on whether or not it’s time to start using professional home care services for their loved ones. You might dread telling a parent that outside help is needed or facing the reality that you just can’t go without assistance any longer.
But, the most challenging question you might be asking yourself is, “How can I be certain that it’s the right time for home care?” So, to help you answer that question, we’re going to provide you with five questions you can ask yourself and confirm the answer to that important question.
1. Is my loved one losing weight?
This can be a bit tricky if you see your parent regularly. It’s often not noticed until it’s extreme. But, weight loss is an indicator that something has changed.
Sometimes weight loss can be caused by the onset of dementia, where the individual forgets to eat. Everyday physical challenges can also cause it. Perhaps your loved one finds it difficult standing long enough to prepare a healthy meal, or arthritis makes it painful to use their hands for meal prep. Some aging adults have trouble bending to reach food in the cupboards or the refrigerator.
It may also help to ask your loved one directly if they’re getting enough to eat. They may not want to admit they’re not comfortable getting out to buy groceries any longer, so check and see if the fridge and their pantry are well stocked.
2. Are they failing to maintain personal hygiene?
This is easier to notice than weight loss. A big tipoff is a parent has suddenly developed body odor, potentially indicating their fear of showering. Or, it can be a memory issue, where they think they bathed that morning, but it was really three days ago. If Dad has a three-day-old stubble and is usually clean-shaven every day, or if Mom has worn soiled clothes for a few days straight, it may be time to discuss having home care with them.
3. Is there housekeeping deteriorating?
If a normally organized home is becoming cluttered or messy, it might be a sign your parent is struggling with housekeeping. It may be physical, or it might be a sign of a cognitive issue. Parents who have had a recent stroke or have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be unsafe when they’re at home alone.
4. Are they having aggressive outbursts?
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and other issues causing cognitive decline, can lead to aggressive and defensive outbursts. Whether physical or verbal, it may be time to get assistance from a home care professional.
5. How are you coping?
If you’re exhausted and overwhelmed by all of the demands placed on you, it’s a key indicator that it’s time for outside assistance. Juggling family responsibilities, a full-time job, and caring for an aging parent can make anyone feel exhausted or overwhelmed.
As parents age, their need for personal care increases; they become less able to care for themselves. You may be finding that you’re needed more frequently to help them with routine tasks, such as cooking or housekeeping, which puts additional stress on you. A professional caregiver can step in and help with the tasks that Mom or Dad are struggling with.
If It’s Time for Home Care, Let Us Help
First In Care serves the greater Bradenton area, including Palmetto, Parrish, Ellenton, Oneco, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria. We can help your loved one stay at home and receive the attention and support they need.