Warning Signs that your Parents may need help at home
It is extremely difficult to watch your parents age, especially if their mental or physical health begins to decline. However, staying aware of the warning signs and taking action before things get out of control could make all the difference in prolonging their independence – so it is important to be proactive. That way, you put the right type of help in place for them from the beginning.
Suggesting to your parents that they may need help at home is always going to be a difficult discussion. However, when that time does come, we need to approach it with focus and knowledge and sometimes be firm.
It could be helpful to start the discussion, and the planning of additional help at home, as soon as you notice quite small signs that all is not well. Start by letting them know that you are concerned about them because you have noticed that they are having issues with things that weren’t a problem before.
When you talk to them about it, remember that they are people who still regard themselves as your parents and guardians and the role reversal will be difficult for them. To have their children advising them on how to live their lives could be uncomfortable for them. However, they may well know that they are struggling but didn’t want to burden you with it. The conversation will help to take the load off their mind.
So, what are the warning signs that you should look out for?
- Sudden weight loss. Have you noticed that they have lost weight? This could be because they’ve lost interest in eating or preparing food for themselves.
- Difficulties getting up from a seated position, walking or mobility issues. If you have to help your parents with their movement and have noticed that their agility has severely declined, it may be time to get them some help for when you are not there.
- Cluttered, unkempt living environment. Is their home no longer in order and they don’t seem to notice it?
- Are you finding spoiled and expired food in their refrigerator and cupboards?
- Do they have dishevelled clothing, and/or body odour – forgetting to wash themselves or their clothes is certainly an indication something is not right.
- Have you noticed that they are having a hard time remembering their medication? Medication is often in the daily routine for our aging parents and when it gets out of control it could become dangerous. If they can’t remember whether they have taken their dose it could result in taking too much or not enough.
- Hesitation or confusion while trying to complete once familiar tasks. Have you noticed your parent is frequently getting confused during day-to-day activities that used to be a part of their routine?
- Missing important appointments. This could be a sign that they are unable to organize their calendar and are experiencing recurrent forgetfulness.
- Late payment notices, overdue accounts, or calls from collections agencies – When you notice that your parents are no longer able to manage their finances; this should be a real red flag
- Unexplained bruising. Large and frequent bruising on your parent could indicate falls and/or poor diet. Either way, you should talk to them about how they think they got the bruises.
- Mood swings, depression, or low energy. If your parents have significant changes in their temperament (often) it could be because of an underlying issue. It would be good to start the discussion by talking about how you have noticed a big change in their behaviour.
- Disinterest in activities that they once enjoyed. If you are noticing that your aging parents are no longer participating in activities they once enjoyed doing, and spending more of their time sitting (or not doing much at all) it could be another indication that something is not right.
From time to time we all suffer from some of these symptoms but if you notice that your parents portray several of them it may be time to start the conversation about help at home.
When you begin to have these conversations, always talk about help or assistance at home (not care) and suggest that initially they could trial some companionship/home help for a limited period to see how it works for them.
Our Home Help
What can you expect from Bridewell Care? These are the ways that a professional Care Assistant can help and the things to talk to your parents about.
- Food shopping at the grocery store
- Appointments or prompting for medication
- Housekeeping (washing dishes, laundry, ironing, bed making, or vacuuming)
- Preparing meals and assisting/prompting with eating and drinking
- Companionship – playing games or watching movies together
- Accompaniment to doctors’ appointments, picking up prescriptions and other errands
- Mobility assistance
- Bathing and dressing assistance
Bridewell Care’s values are about helping people to stay as independent as possible for as long as possible and our team work very hard in encouraging people to do as much for themselves as they can.