Most seniors prefer to live at home and stay independent as long as possible. They may often try to disguise the fact that they need help as they do not want to be a burden to the family or don’t want to leave the comfort of their home. Wanting to be independent is completely natural and understandable, but looking after themselves may not always be the best option for a senior’s health and wellbeing. The good news is that your senior loved one can still enjoy independence while staying at home with the help of a professional home caregiver.
Aging can make it difficult and even dangerous for seniors to live alone due to medical and other conditions related to growing older. The responsibility often falls on family members to see the signs that they need help and to assist them with the transition from living alone to having the help of a home caregiver.
It’s often hard to see the signs as changes may happen slowly and subtly and you may not be able to spend a lot of time with them to pick up on these signals. The following pointers will make it easier for you to determine whether your senior loved one needs home care.
1. Letting Things Go around the House
One of the quickest ways to tell that your senior loved one may need home care is to look at the general state of their house. If the house starts to be messier than usual, it may be a sign that they need assistance. Here are some telltale signs to look out for:
Piled up mail, trash, or dirty laundry
The house is in dire need of maintenance
Spoiled food in the fridge
The cat’s litter box that’s not emptied often
Regular chores, such as vacuuming and dusting, are getting neglected
2. Neglecting Personal Care
Another quick way to spot that your senior loved one needs home care is to look at their personal appearance. If you see that your loved one does not take as much care with their grooming habits as they used to, it might be time to get the help of a home caregiver. Here are some signs to watch out for:
3. A Change in Eating Habits
You may also notice that a senior needs the help of a home caregiver when observing their eating habits or weight. There are usually two scenarios: Your senior loved one may either gain or lose weight, which indicates a change in their eating habits.
Seniors can forget to eat, or they have difficulty cooking a healthy meal or buying the necessary groceries, which will result in weight loss. Have a look at their pantry and cupboards to see if they have sufficient food in stock.
Seniors that have difficulty cooking a balanced meal often turn to junk food or candy that may cause them to gain weight. This often happens if they can’t get to a shop that sells healthy ingredients, or it’s just easier to buy prepared meals. Eating junk food and candy can also be a sign of depression, a symptom of loneliness.
4. Cognitive Decline
Noticing cognitive decline is often one of the most difficult telltale signs, as deterioration can happen subtly over an extended period of time. Look out for these kinds of behaviors to help you see whether your loved one needs the help of a home caregiver:
Finding it difficult to make decisions
Neglecting to pay their bills
Forgetting to take their medication
Missing important appointments
5. Neglecting Social Life
Seniors that need home care assistance often have less social interaction than they did in the past. If they previously loved to go to a weekly book club or play checkers in the park with their friends but have stopped partaking in these activities, it may be because they need help getting to social meetings or they forget about their appointments. Here are some signs that will help you see whether your senior loved one is neglecting his or her social life:
Less interest in hobbies and activities that they previously enjoyed
Talking more than usual, which may be a sign of loneliness
If they can’t tell you when they last heard from or visited with a friend
Mood swings and hints of depression
6. Physical Decline
One of the main reasons seniors need home care is due to a decline in their physical abilities. Here are some examples of signs of physical decline:
Problems with mobility and balance
Difficulty getting out of a chair
Difficulty walking up the stairs
Bumping into furniture
Not seeing as well as before
More pain and complaints of illnesses
Bruises, which might be a sign of falls
Noticing Signs That Your Loved One May Need Home Care?
No one wants to lose their independence, but if seniors aren’t able to take care of themselves and insist on staying alone, it can accelerate their physical and mental decline. What will happen if they’re alone and they slip on a wet floor due to a leaking pipe or they trip over clutter, or they forget to take crucial medications?
Home caregiving can help seniors to still maintain a level of independence. They can carry on with their lives as before, just with a little support. Home caregiving enables seniors to live longer, provides for less loneliness, and keeps them healthier overall.
Get in contact with Alegre Home Care if you’re unsure whether you’re reading the signs right or if you’re interested to know about the services our professional home caregivers can offer your senior loved one.