When our parents get older, it can be hard to recognize when they need additional help to live safely and comfortably in their homes. After all, we’re used to them taking care of us, so it can be difficult to think of them as anything but invincible. But, the truth is that over 8 million people in the United States need some sort of long-term care. Recognizing that your aging parent needs home care is only half the battle, though. Once you’ve decided they need care, the next step is a conversation with your parent about accepting help.
How to Tell if Home Care is Needed
Sometimes a serious illness or injury makes the need for home care obvious. However, other times, the need creeps up on you slowly and isn’t as easily recognized. There are several signs you can look for that may indicate your elderly parent could use some help, such as:
- Sleeping Too Much: An older adult who is spending most of the day in bed may be suffering from depression or boredom.
- Spending Too Much Time Alone: Seniors who live alone are at risk for social isolation and loneliness.
- Unopened Mail: Stacks of unopened mail may indicate that your parent is having vision problems that make reading the mail difficult. It may also signal a cognitive problem.
- Lack of Personal Hygiene: You notice things like your parent wearing clothes that are dirty or stained, unkempt hair, body odor, or other signs of personal neglect.
- Driving Problems: An increase in “fender benders” or near misses, dents or scratches on the car or garage door and fence posts signifies that it may no longer be safe for your parent to drive.
- Bruises and Scrapes: Bruises and scrapes may indicate that your parent is having mobility problems. They may be falling, which could lead to a serious injury.
- Unkept House: The house is cluttered, there are frequently unwashed dishes in the sink, the floors need cleaning, and the house is dusty.
- Spoiled Food: Expired and spoiled foods in the refrigerator and cupboards may mean that your parent is not eating well.
- Empty Cupboards: A lack of food in the house may indicate that your parent is having trouble doing their own grocery shopping or cooking meals.
What Home Care Can Do to Help
Before you have a conversation with your parent about accepting help from a home care provider, it’s important to arm yourself with information about how their life will improve when they get the assistance they need. Just a few of the things that a home care provider can do are:
- Provide Companionship and Ease Boredom: Having someone visit the home daily or a couple times per week gives your parent someone to talk to and something to look forward to. A home care provider can just sit and talk, play a board game or cards, or assist with an activity, such as a craft.
- Transportation: A home care provider can drive your parent to the places they need to go, including medical appointments, the grocery store, worship services, or to visit friends.
- Grocery Shopping and Cooking: Home care can assist the senior to grocery shop, carry the heavy bags, unpack the groceries, and even cook healthy meals.
- Personal Care: When needed, home care assists with personal care activities like bathing, toileting, and grooming.
- Housework: A home care provider can perform light housekeeping duties so that the house will be a more pleasant, safer place to live.
Talking to Your Parent About Home Care
Talking to an older adult about accepting help can be even more difficult than deciding if they need assistance. Many older adults believe that by accepting help, they are admitting they are incapable and will lose their independence. It can help to begin the conversation by explaining that hiring home care can actually allow them to live independently longer. By accepting help with small things, like cooking and cleaning, they will remain healthier and better able to live on their own.
One way to start the conversation is to talk about your own life, then spin the conversation toward your parent’s life. For example, if you’re concerned about your parent’s eating habits, start by talking about finding time to cook for your family or needing to clean your refrigerator. Then, ask your parent a question about what they’ve been eating or when they last cleaned the fridge. Next, suggest that it might be nice to have help with these things.
Another way to approach the topic of home care is to tell your parent about someone you know who recently hired a home care provider. Tell them about the benefits and how happy the person is to have help.
If your parent is reluctant to accept help, don’t argue. Let the topic drop for a while and revisit it later. If the need for help seems urgent, you may need to enlist the help of other family members, a doctor, or a clergy person. If not, give the idea some time to percolate. Your parent is likely to come around eventually.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care Services in Sun City AZ, please contact the caring staff at Devoted Guardians today.
Affordable In-Home Care in the Phoenix Metro Area. Call Today: (480) 999-3012.