Sure-fire warning signs that a senior needs more help.
Agingcare.com suggests that if an adult child or caregiver notices certain warning signs, the senior probably requires assistance on a more regular basis. Some signs to look for are:
• Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
• Missing important appointments
• Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
• Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
• Unpleasant body odor or 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 more than the prescribed dosage
• Diagnosis of dementia or early onset Alzheimer’s
• Unexplained dents and scratches on a car
Assessing the type of home care a senior parent needs
To determine the kind of home care that is essential for the senior, the adult child can first observe the senior parent. Watch how the senior handles routine Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing and dressing. Also, note any housekeeping or errands that are difficult for the senior to accomplish. Make a list of all of the areas that the senior requires help, or if the senior had assistance, where their life would be better.
The Family Caregiver Alliance offers these guidelines for assessing the home care needs of a senior and for indicating where the caregiver needs support:
Personal Care: bathing, eating, dressing, toileting
• Household Care: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
• Health Care: medication management, physician’s appointments, physical therapy
• Emotional Care: companionship, meaningful activities, conversation
By assessing each area, the adult child can begin to align support for each need.