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Admitting the need for assistance—and accepting it—is not easy for people as they age. So, how will you know when your aging parent needs help at home? One thing is certain: Mom and Dad aren’t likely to be the ones who tell you!
Seniors have a strong desire to remain independent and retain control of their own lives for as long as possible. Typically, an older adult will downplay or hide any issues they have been experiencing until an accident or sudden decline in their health makes it plain that they need assistance. Since adult children are often unable to participate in making care decisions before a crisis takes place, the added stress of an unexpected hospitalization or fall complicates things even further.
One way to avoid being caught off-guard is to start regularly monitoring your parents’ physical and mental abilities (ideally in person), encouraging proper legal and financial planning, and researching long-term care options. This will ensure you are prepared should Mom or Dad begin to show signs of needing help.
Signs a Senior Needs Help at Home
Look for these common indicators that an older adult may need help at home or an increased level of care.
Changes in Physical Function and Appearance
Changes in Behavior and Mental Status
Changes in sleep patterns (e.g., insomnia or sleeping all day)
Changes in household cleanliness and organization
Changes in Cognition, Memory and Judgement
Changes in personality or behavior
Hiring Home Care for Aging Parents
If you believe your Mom and Dad are exhibiting any of the following warning signs, the next step is to speak with them about their changing abilities and care needs. It’s best to discuss the future with aging parents sooner rather than later to ensure everyone is on the same page and avoid surprises. Broach the subject respectfully and in such a way that they are able to participate in identifying the underlying problem(s) and coming up with solutions.
Keep in mind that these red flags don’t necessarily mean a move to assisted living or a nursing home is warranted. However, their presence does indicate that some sort of daily supportive care is needed. For many families, hiring home help allows older adults to stay in the comfort of their own houses for as long as safely possible. Use the following guide as a starting point to help you make informed and confident decisions when hiring in-home care.
By Ashley Huntsberry-Lett
Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What's Normal and What's Not?
The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between AgingCare and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; AgingCare does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.