It can be difficult to accept that our parents are aging and may no longer be capable of caring for themselves without some help. After all, as we were growing up, they took care of us. As people age, though, there often comes a time when they are unable to adequately care for themselves and their homes, and living alone may even become dangerous. However, parents aren’t likely to tell their children when they need help. They may be in denial of their own situation or unwilling to give up their independence. This leaves the adult children of elderly parents responsible for deciding when to step in and hire a home care provider to assist with those things their parents now have difficulty doing on their own. If you’re uncertain how to tell if your parent needs help, here are some signs that may help you decide whether it’s time to hire a home care provider for your mom or dad.
- The house is unkempt and dirty. There is evidence that the house has not been vacuumed or dusted in a while and the bathroom or kitchen is dirty.
- There is spoiled food in the refrigerator. Everyone lets something go bad once in a while, but if you notice that your parent has more spoiled food in the refrigerator than normal, there is some cause for concern.
- The exterior of the house is not well kept. If you notice that your parent’s once tidy yard and house are now suffering from neglect, they may need help. Perhaps the grass is not being cut or the trash is not being taken to the curb for collection.
- Your parent is neglecting their personal hygiene. When parents stop bathing and their clothes appear stained or dirty, they probably aren’t taking proper care of themselves.
- Missing appointments. If your parent forgets to attend important appointments, such as doctor appointments, they may be having memory difficulties.
- Mobility issues. Problems getting up from a seated position or difficulty walking are signs that help is needed. Mobility problems can become a serious safety issue.
- Weight loss or poor eating habits. When elderly people gain or lose weight, it can be a sign that they are not eating properly or that they may be forgetting to eat.
- Mail piling up. If you notice that there are stacks of mail in the house or in the mailbox, or if bills are not being paid, your parent may need help with everyday tasks.
- Forgetting to take medications. When your parent does not take prescription medications as instructed, they may need someone to remind them to do so.
- Signs of depression. If your parent begins to exhibit signs of depression, like loss of interest in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed, a change in sleeping habits, or sadness, having a home care provider to ease loneliness can be helpful.
If your parent is exhibiting some of the signs above and you are concerned for their health and safety, hiring a home care provider from an agency can give you peace of mind. When you cannot be there to look after your parent, it’s good to know that someone is checking on them regularly to make sure they take medications, stay safe, and get the help they need to keep themselves and their homes clean.