For many seniors, preserving independence is a daily struggle. They like living alone, resent offers of assistance, and insist there is no need to give up their autonomy. Some may have accepted that they can no longer fully care for themselves, but resist the idea of bringing in professional help. It can be hard for family members to determine when aging is interfering with a family member’s lifestyle to the point that makes it impossible for them to be entirely self-sufficient. Every family situation is unique, but there are some red flags that suggest it may be time to hire a professional senior caregiver. Read on to learn the most common signs that professional in-home care is needed.
#1 Inability to Perform Daily Tasks
Chronic illnesses and health-related issues can cause problems with daily living. Basic tasks that once seemed second nature can become impossible. This may include getting in and out of bed, taking a shower, using the toilet, eating dinner, and doing laundry.
Many family members think that their loved one can function without professional help because they can still perform some duties. But this is actually quite common and doesn’t mean you don’t need to hire a professional senior caregiver. For example, someone with very poor eyesight might be able to get himself to the restroom and put his clothes on every morning. However, they may find it impossible to take daily medication and (read) pay the bills.
If daily tasks are a concern, speak with your loved one openly about their limitations. Use this daily living (ADL) checklist to discuss areas that could be supported by a professional senior caregiver.
#2 Fall Hazards
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), falls are the leading cause of injury for aging Americans. Their fall prevention statistics break it down like this: every 11 seconds an adult over 65 is treated for a fall injury and every 19 seconds, one dies.
Two things can make your loved one more susceptible to a fall. The first group is health-
related risk factors like muscle weakness, foot problems, and blood pressure drops. Confusion from
medication can also make a person more likely to experience a fall.
Then, there are home hazards that can lead to a fatal fall. Stairs, rugs, low toilets, cracks in their sidewalk, or a pet, may make them more susceptible to a fall. To prevent such an occurrence, you may want to hire a professional caregiver to assist during high-risk times.
#3 Family Caregivers are Burnt Out
Another warning sign that you might need additional help is caregiver burn out. Caring for an aging parent or another family member can be fulfilling at times and extremely stressful at others. This state of mental or physical exhaustion can involve lack of energy, sleep issues, anxiety, headaches, and even lead to severe depression.
Even if you take the necessary steps to avoid caregiver burn out, it is common to reach a point where you can no longer take care of your loved one’s needs as well as your own. It is then that finding a professional caregiver to help out becomes not a want but a necessity.