No one likes the idea of losing their independence, but time stops for no one. Although your loved one may not be excited about having a stranger come into their home and help with their care, it will certainly help them maintain some degree of autonomy and independence while living at home. In one survey, seniors expressed greater fear of being placed in a nursing home than of dying.
One of the first steps you can take before evaluating what's happening at home is to have a loved one undergo an assessment with their physician to evaluate their physical and mental status. It's ideal to do this with a doctor or nurse practitioner who has geriatric training as they are better adept at assessing the needs of the elderly. In addition to an evaluation by a health professional, there are several questions you can ask yourself and your loved one to help determine if an in-home healthcare provider would help alleviate some of the stress of maintaining their independence.
- Is your loved one able to do their own activities of daily living- such as getting dressed, taking a bath and taking their medications- unassisted?
- Has your loved one fallen in the recent past?
- Have you noticed any signs of memory deficits, such as missing medications, forgetting doctor's appointments or forgetting to eat?
- Have you noticed your loved one exhibiting any signs of depression or anxiety? Do they have low energy levels or difficulty getting motivated to leave the home?
- Does your loved one have the upper body strength and dexterity to dress and feed themselves?
- Have you found expired or spoiled groceries in the refrigerator or cabinets?
- Have you noticed that your loved one’s home or yard needs care or maintenance that they are unable to provide?
- Does your loved one have poor personal hygiene?
- Have you noticed your loved one has lost weight recently or is eating poorly?
- Has your loved one exhibited a loss of interest in activities or hobbies they normally enjoy?
- Are there unexplained dents or scratches on their car?
- Does your loved one have unexplained bruising on their arms or legs? (You may have to ask to see their arms and legs if they usually wear long sleeves and long pants.)
- Are there broken appliances in their home that they have not fixed or asked for help fixing?
- Is your loved one getting calls from collection agencies, late payment notices or have you noticed that they have bounced checks?
- Have you noticed changes in mood or extreme mood swings?
- Does your loved one seem unsure or uncertain when doing tasks that were once very familiar?
- Have you noticed their behavior becomes agitated later in the day? (A common characteristic of those who are in the early stages of dementia?)
- Do you feel as if your loved one has become physically weaker or more frail?
Another key sign it might be time to discuss home care with your parent is if you feel overwhelmed or exhausted trying to care for them. It's difficult to juggle a full-time job, your own family and the extra care an elderly parent may require in order to maintain their autonomy and independence. Unfortunately, this may spark feelings of fear or guilt. However, in order for you to be available to provide companionship and love to your parents, you must remain healthy yourself.
Becoming over-stressed and overworked by balancing two families will only increase your own health risks. If you find that you're needed more frequently for something more than a visit, this is a clear sign using an in-home care professional may help both your parents and you.
Come Home With Harmony!
Lay the groundwork for a great conversation with your parents by talking about goals, such as the common goal of remaining at home. As the time approaches that in-home care becomes necessary, it may be easier to talk about the benefits of home care as it relates to their desire to remain autonomous and independent, living in a home that has been comfortable for them.
Our professionals at Harmony are trained to assist your loved ones to remain independent while offering compassionate care and companionship so you have the energy to visit and enjoy your family. Contact us today - let’s get started meeting your family’s needs.