Visiting your elderly parents is when you spend time catching up on each other’s lives and sometimes the visits are shorter than you would like them to be. So, it can be difficult to recognize some of the signs that your aging parents may need a bit of outside help. In many situations, the changes in behavior happen gradually and subtly. Unfortunately, many elderly people are also hesitant about voicing their concerns, especially when it is about needing help. If you are concerned about your elderly loved ones, here are a few signs to let you know when it’s time to hire an in-home care provider and how to have the conversation with an elderly family member.
Change in Diet
If you looked in your loved one’s refrigerator on a previous visit and noticed unusual items, such as pre-made processed food or moldy vegetables and fruits, it may be a sign that they are struggling with cooking meals for themselves. It is extremely important that elderly adults eat a nutritious diet that consists of foods high in fiber, protein and vitamins. If your aging loved one is unable to prepare nutritious meals for themselves, consider hiring an in-home care provider to assist with shopping and meal preparation.
As your loved one ages, they may have trouble doing household chores, such as laundry, taking out the garbage or even dusting. If you noticed your elderly parent’s home is starting to have excessive clutter or look unkempt, consider talking with them about having an in-home caregiver to help with household chores. In-home caregivers are available to help with light housekeeping, such as vacuuming, dusting and ensuring the floors are clear to prevent the risk of falls.
As your loved ones age, it’s natural to struggle with the activities of daily living, such as toileting, bathing, dressing and continence. If you notice that your loved one has been wearing the same clothing, they aren’t bathing regularly or they struggle to brush their teeth and hair, it may be a sign that they are having difficulty getting in and out of the shower or they may be experiencing forgetfulness. An in-home caregiver can help your loved one with many of the things that they may be forgetting or struggling to do, such as daily hygiene, taking their medications, or keeping track of medical appointments.
Have you been noticing mysterious injuries on your loved one? These injuries may be a sign that they are struggling with mobility. Common injuries from loss of mobility may include bruises, cuts, limping, burns and/or scratches. Elderly people often won’t admit they are having difficulty getting around or that they have fallen. In this situation, it is important to ask them how where the injuries occurred and to get them to explain how the accident happened. An in-home caregiver can be extremely helpful in these situations, because they would be available to help monitor them to ensure they don’t further injure themselves.
Addressing Your Concerns
Everyone wants their elderly loved ones to remain in their home for as long as possible, including the seniors themselves. But now that you are noticing signs of them having difficulties being alone at home, what should you do, how do you have a conversation with your loved one about having an in-home caregiver come in to help? Here are a few tips on how to approach the conversation and address your loved one’s needs and concerns, as well as your own concerns.
- Ask your loved one about their concerns-Keep in mind that this is their life, so ask what their wishes and concerns are, before voicing your own concerns. This will put your loved one’s mind at ease and let them know that they still have a say in what happens.
- Listen before speaking-It is extremely important that you are patient and just listen to what your parents are saying. Only after listening to them will you be able to completely address their concerns. It’s also important to listen with empathy, so while they are speaking, listen closely and assure them that you want what’s best for them and that most importantly; you want to respect their wishes.
- Address topics individually-Keep in mind that this will not be a quick conversation, it is going to take time. Start with the most important concerns, and the ones that will be easy to talk about. For instance, although you are concerned about the clutter, bringing this up may be upsetting to seniors. Instead, consider addressing things, such as having an in-home caregiver drive your parent to medical appointments or stop by for medication reminders. Then, gradually discuss them having an in-home caregiver come once a week to help with hygiene and household chores.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to put yourself in your elderly loved one’s shoes. It’s essential to notice the signs that they need a helping hand, but it’s also important to discuss their questions and concerns with them. Here at 1st Meridian Care Services, we provide customized care plans that are tailored to fit your elderly loved one’s needs. Please feel free to contact us with any question or concerns you may have regarding in-home care for your loved one.