When Aging Parents or Loved Ones Need More Support
Is it time to think about extra support or elderly care for a parent? This is a new chapter in all of your lives and one that is not always easy to accept. We like to think of the people we love at their very best. It can often be difficult to face realities that come with aging, but bringing in a professional caregiver to help with needed tasks can help bridge the gap.
Below are a few signs that your loved one may be ready for a little extra help.
Their routine has changed significantly
Are they letting the dog out in the backyard instead of walking them through the neighborhood? Have they stopped grabbing lunch or coffee with a group of retired friends? Are they spending more time in front of the television and less time in the garden?
A shift in daily routine can be normal, but it becomes a problem when old routines give way to new ones that are isolated and unstimulating.
They seem anxious, uncomfortable or uninterested in activities they used to love
A single fall, a half-forgotten technique, an uncharacteristic mistake–that’s all it takes to turn a beloved hobby into an activity you no longer want to bother with. That’s true for many people, but it’s particularly common for seniors on the cusp of needing elderly care.
It’s not an unexpected reaction, it’s the same behavior most people exhibit when they feel like they’ve called attention to themselves in a negative way. Regardless of age, when we feel ashamed, we want to avoid the activity in question as much as we can. If it’s happening to your parents, it’s a sign that they may need some extra help to power through it.
Their personality has changed
When your mental and physical abilities change, it can be disorienting, embarrassing and even depressing. If your loved ones are experiencing difficulties in how they think or what they’re able to do in their daily lives, their reaction to that change will probably show up in the way they behave toward you and others. Emotional outbursts and mood swings can be strong indicators that there could be underlying issues that may need professional help managing.
Their home isn’t as clean or tidy as it was
Keeping up with a clean house is difficult for most people on a good week. Once aging sets in, everyday tasks such as laundry, dishes, and vacuuming can become too strenuous to handle on their own. It will be easy to tell when this becomes a reality for your loved ones. There will be more dishes in the sink. Dust will collect in the corners and floors will be noticeably dirty underfoot. Your parents might push themselves too hard and risk injury to keep up with the chores, so minding these details can be essential to their health and safety.
They aren’t taking care of their hygiene or appearance
You may notice you parents aren’t showering or brushing their teeth as often as they should. With age, personal grooming can become more difficult. It may not be as easy for your loved one to step into a tub or wash their hair as it once was. Be on the lookout for outward changes, like skipping on makeup, poorly kept nails, oily hair and dirty clothes. To put off asking for help, seniors will often try to disguise poor personal grooming habits. Admitting that you can’t maintain your hygiene is very humbling, it's best to be gentle when you address these concerns and patient as you work through them.
You’re worried about them
If you’re constantly wondering if your parents are okay, if they’re eating right, if they’re taking their medication on time, if they’re bathing, if they’re getting out of the house, if they’ve made it to their doctor’s appointment—all that worry can have detrimental effects on your own health and well-being. It also cuts in on the time you spend with your spouse, your kids and your friends. If any of these signs ring true for you and your senior loved ones, it may be time to start thinking about your elderly care options. Help them go back to living the life they love. Even part-time, in-home assistance can ease your mind and make independent living easier and more enjoyable for your parents.