Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Signs Your Parents Need Help at Home
By Marlo Sollitto Knowing when to begin discussions about needed assistance with aging parents is not always as simple as one might think. Maybe you've noticed that dad's unopened mail is piling up. Or mom, once meticulous about her appearance, is wearing wrinkled clothes and not doing her hair. Perhaps there are bruises on your loved one's arms. When you bring up these observations, their instant response is, "Everything is fine, there's no need to worry." Admitting they need help would mean they can no longer take care of themselves, and no one wants to lose their independence. "Denial is the unrealistic hope that a problem is not really happening and will go away by itself. Admitting they need help and accepting assistance is not easy for people as they age. It represents a loss of independence. Denial plays a major role and signs get ignored," says Paul Hogan, Founder and Chairman of Home Instead Senior Care. The burden often falls on the family to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks. This doesn't necessarily mean that your loved one has to move to assisted living or a nursing home, but they may need some extra help in their home. If they're not willing to admit it, how do you know if your elderly parent needs home care? Look for the red flags listed below. Signs Your Parent Needs Help at Home • Spoiled food that doesn't get thrown away • Missing important appointments • Unexplained bruising • Difficulty getting up from a seated position • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks • Forgetfulness • Unpleasant body odor • Infrequent showering or bathing • A strong smell of urine in the house • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care • Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors • Poor diet or weight loss • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings • Forgetting to take medications, or taking incorrect dosages • Unexplained dents and scratches on a car Once the problem is realized, the family must decide if home health care is the best option. It is generally defined as non-medical support services delivered at the home of the senior. "The aim of this kind of care is to allow seniors to remain at home longer rather than moving to an assisted living community, nursing home or other type of senior care facility. It may be appropriate if a senior prefers to stay at home but needs minor assistance with activities of daily living," says Sam Almengor, National Accounts Director for Senior Helpers, a national company that provides professional in-home assistance services. "One of the most frightening prospects for seniors is leaving home," Hogan says.