When an elderly parent needs in-home care, it may not seem obvious. Unless your parent has a serious health problem or injury, the signs they may need help at home will often appear gradually. Most seniors have a strong desire to age in place, so your parents likely won’t even admit that they need assistance. This can be dangerous especially if your parent is having a difficult time moving around, taking care of themselves, or completing daily tasks in a safe manner. So, how do you know if your elderly parents need help? Simply watching for certain behavioral shifts and clues around their home can help you determine when to seek in-home senior care assistance.
Signs Your Elderly Parents Need Help at Home
Changes in Cognitive Function
As your parents age, they may experience memory problems. While it may not be serious if they forget to lock the door from time to time, recurring or frequent memory issues can be a warning sign of a serious decline in cognitive abilities. It’s important to watch for patterns in the following behaviors which can indicate it’s time to hire some in-home help:
- They forget their name, yours, or those of other important people.
- They don’t remember where they live or how to get home.
- They forget to take daily medications or take incorrect doses.
- They frequently forget to turn off the stove.
- They frequently misplace their belongings.
- They have trouble forming complete sentences.
- They frequently miss appointments or forget about other commitments.
- They get confused when performing familiar tasks.
- They are disinterested in engaging in their favorite activities.
- They have frequent mood swings or sudden shifts in personality.
- They have frequent fatigue, sadness, or depression.
- They sleep most of the day or are experiencing sudden changes in sleeping habits.
Decline in Physical Abilities
As we age, physical function naturally declines. Whether your parents are just getting older or they have been dealing with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, stroke, or autoimmune disorders, you may notice a downturn in their physical capabilities. The next time you visit your parents, look for the following signs that they may need assistance getting around the house:
- They have difficulty climbing stairs or moving through narrow hallways.
- They have issues standing up after being seated.
- They limp when they walk, or wince in pain when moving around.
- They are prone to slipping or falling. Watch for unexplained bruises or other injuries which can indicate falls.
- They are having balance issues and have to hold onto objects or walls to navigate their house.
- It seems like their vision or hearing is declining.
- Their car has dents or scratches which can indicate impaired driving ability.
- You notice they are losing a significant amount of weight or are experiencing a loss of appetite.
- You notice signs of incontinence in their home such as strong urine odor.
Inability to Keep Up with Routine Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Sometimes, the most telling way to know if your parents need in-home care is to take notice of their daily routines and appearances. If your parents have difficulty completing daily activities, maintaining a clean home, or keeping up with personal grooming tasks, they could benefit from personal home care or home health aide assistance. Be on the lookout for the following signs:
- They are always running low on food or consistently lack fresh food. This could mean that they may need shopping assistance.
- They have poor personal hygiene and look disheveled. This could mean they have a difficult time bathing or grooming themselves on their own.
- You notice burns on their skin. This could indicate that they are having issues cooking their own food.
- They have problems moving to and from the toilet.
- They have difficulty transferring from place to place (getting out of bed, moving off the couch, etc.).
- They have stacks of unopened mail or unpaid bills.
- They can’t keep up with laundry or simple household chores.
- Their home is cluttered or dirty.
- They are failing to fill their prescriptions.
- Their lawn or yard hasn’t been maintained. Take notice of tall grass, leaves that need raking, snow that needs shoveling, bushes that need trimmed, etc.
While no one wants to think about their parents’ health declining, it’s important to know how to look for these subtle signs so you can hire in-home help sooner. Doing so will give you peace of mind and allow your elderly parents to live safely and comfortably in their own home as they age.
In-Home Care Services for the Elderly in Akron, Ohio
Our senior home care agency in Akron, Ohio can help your parents experience full and healthful lives in their own home for many years. Our in-home care services for the elderly include companion care, personal home care, home health nurses, physical therapy services, speech therapy and more. Let My Family take care of your family today. Contact us now for an in-home care assessment.