You might suspect that your elderly parent needs help at home with activities of daily living but how do you know for sure? How do you bring up the question of home care without offending or irritating them? Just waiting for them to address the matter will simply not happen. Why?
Because seniors want to be in control of their life for as long as possible and they don’t want to be a burden to their children or loved ones/spouses.
So, how do you make them realize they need help with daily tasks? You can’t. What usually happens is the aging senior will have some sort of a “wake-up call” be it an injury due to a fall or they may suffer a stroke.
You don’t know what and when will happen, but you can keep your eyes open for telltale signs, so where do you start? You can start monitoring their physical and mental abilities while researching different care options should your parents need it.
It’s not that hard to tell if your aging parents need assistance – they usually have a hard time performing activities such as:
- dressing and grooming
Also, watch for changes in their physical appearance – another telltale sign that they would need help at home sooner than later:
- sudden weight loss (not able to go grocery shopping, cooking and/or eating)
- poor hygiene (unable to bath, dress and groom)
- blue marks on their body caused by falls (they have trouble moving around)
Warning Signs That Your Aging Parents Need Help as Soon as Possible
In addition to the changes discussed above there are some physical clues around your parents’ home that can tell you of changes in their activities of daily living (ADL):
- they have a hard time completing tasks they once enjoyed like maintaining the yard
- the interior of their house has not been maintained as it used to
- dents and scratched to their car are sign of impaired driving ability
- stains on the carpet that have been caused by dropping and/or spilling things
- urine odor – sign of incontinence
- unpaid bills and unopened mail point to difficulty completing regular tasks
Also, keep your eyes open for the following behavioral changes:
- lack of motivation
- lack of drive
- verbal & physical abuse
If you notice some of the signs below know that your elderly parent or spouse might be developing dementia and consider your options (elderly care facilities, dementia care at home or home health aides):
- memory lapses on a consistent basis
- no reasoning skills
- difficulty recalling names of familiar people and places
- personality changes
- constant misplacing of things
- unable to complete a sentence
- rapid mood swings
By now you are certain that your parent needs assistance but how do you talk with them about that? Do it in a way that they themselves identify the problem and identify possible solutions.
I know that it’s easier said than done but believe me when I say that it is very, very important that your parents come to the realization that they need home care themselves.
Depending on the circumstances they might need to sell their house and move into an assisted living facility or memory care community, but this decision needs to be their own, not yours or of other immediate family members.
Or, they might need help with housekeeping and cleaning a few times a week for a couple hours. Whatever it is, these changes in their lifestyle are painful enough as they are and for that reason must be handled very carefully.