Is it Time for Care?
It can be a tough question, and you may be closer to an answer than you realize simply by taking note of the recent behaviors of your loved one. Also, thanks to the wide variety of in-home care services now offered, it’s possible to just have some extra assistance from time to time. There are a number of early signs that can help you determine whether or not home care is needed. Take note of any of the following behaviors:
ACCIDENTS – Are you or a loved one having more accidents than usual? Accidents such as falling or tripping around the house? Or driving accidents, such as fender-benders or sideswiping the curb? While accidents can happen to anyone, an increase in frequency can mean there’s an issue with mobility or passageways in the home. Home care could address these issues and devise plans for how to minimize accidents.
EATING HABITS – Have you noticed your or your loved one’s eating habits have changed? Eating has become more or less frequent, there has been a loss of appetite, or meals are completely missed without notice. Weight loss or gain can also be due to a change in eating habits and may be the result of another underlying health issue such as depression. Home care will help maintain healthy eating habits and ensure meals aren’t missed. If the change in eating habits is a symptom of a larger issue, such as depression, a caregiver could be the first to identify and alert family members.
DECREASED ACTIVITY – Are you noticing a decrease in activity? Are there any activities that once were habitual, but now have been discarded without reason or notice? Is there a decreasing desire to leave the house, whether by personal vehicle or public transportation? Is there an issue with personal mobility? Are there issues with standing upright for long periods of time? With home care, seniors can benefit from having someone available to help them with getting around so they can keep enjoying life. If seniors are uncomfortable driving themselves or taking public transportation, a caregiver can provide transportation.
PERSONAL HYGIENE – Has there been a noticeable change in personal hygiene? Is your loved one wearing dirty clothing, forgoing bathing or self-cleaning, not brushing their teeth or hair, or have they neglected open cuts or sores? A decline in personal hygiene could be the result of a number of issues including early Alzheimer’s or depression. Home care can help ensure the client is maintaining personal hygiene while alerting the family if serious issues arise that could affect the individual’s short or long-term health.
CLUTTERED HOME – Is there more clutter than usual? Are entryways, hallways, and doorways being obstructed? Is the mail being opened on a regular basis or is it laid out in piles throughout the home? Are laundry baskets overflowing? A large amount of clutter could be a symptom of an underlying neurological or physical issue. With in-home care, family members won’t have to worry about their loved one’s homes being overly cluttered. In addition, a caregiver can alert a family member if they believe that the clutter is linked to other health issues.
MAIL – Are there a number of unopened envelopes throughout the house? Is the daily newspaper making its way inside or piling up on the porch? What kind of mail is being delivered? Does anything look as if it doesn’t belong? Seniors are a vulnerable target for scammers. Be on the lookout for individuals or groups requesting donations or money orders. Are bills being paid on time or is there a pile of late notices and final warnings? Home care can systematically sort and address all delivered mail and can assist with identifying and separating payment notices from junk mail.
MEDICATION – Have there been any issues with remembering to take prescription medications? Or have there been instances when more than the prescribed amount was taken? Has medication expired but still remained within rotation? Are prescriptions being forgotten or left unfilled? While caregivers can’t administer medication, they can check up on clients to make sure prescribed medication is being taken appropriately while properly disposing of any expired medication.
FOOD – Is there an overabundance or severe lack of food in the home? Are there any spoiled foods in the refrigerator or freezer? How many items are frozen, ready-made meals? As a way of avoiding food shopping, some seniors may collect a large number of ready-made meals to store in the freezer. While this isn’t an immediate cry for help, these meals can be high in sodium and can point toward issues with eating habits. Home care can offer a number of services related to food and eating habits including driving clients to the grocery store, helping with grocery shopping, and preparing meals. Additionally, the caregiver can regularly check the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and dispose of any expired foods.
SOCIAL LIFE – Are friends coming around less often? Does it seem like there is less excitement or desire to socialize outside of the home? Another benefit of in-home care is the companionship that grows between the caregiver and the individual receiving care. Whether that companionship means playing a game of cards together, watching a favorite TV program, or simply having a conversation a caregiver knows how vital socializing is to the overall well-being of all people; especially seniors living alone.
HOUSEKEEPING – Have you noticed a decline in housekeeping? Are there noticeable changes in the way the house is cleaned? Are hard-to-reach areas being passed over or completely ignored? Are there growing signs of neglect, such as piles of dirt or dust, stains, spills, or cobwebs? Home care can ensure that housekeeping standards are being met and can help assist the client in completing housekeeping tasks. Additionally, the caregiver can alert the family if it seems that housekeeping issues are a continual struggle for the individual.
PETS AND PLANTS – Are there signs of neglect when inspecting household plants or pets? Are most or all of the plants wilting or dead? Do the pets seem like they haven't been groomed in a while? Do you notice any issues with the animal’s behavior, mobility, sight, or hearing? Does the pet look meager or overfed? Home care can help assist seniors with caring for their plants and pets. This is especially important since both can have positive impacts on the mental and emotional well-being of the individual.
These are just a few examples of the signs that in-home care might be needed.
Please contact Amazing Grace Homecare if you've noticed any of these signs.