The signs of aging may have a more gradual onset than you think. In fact, at times, so gradual it is impossible to go back and identify an event that may have preceded a sentinel or life-changing event with our aging love one. So, when is the right time to begin home care assistance for an aging loved one?
Things I have heard (and said) regarding an aging parent:
They still drive and engage in community activities
They still cook their own food and seem to take their medications on time
They do not want help or think they need any help
They will be uncomfortable if I bring up the topic, and I don’t want that for either of us
I often get calls from family members who are on the fence about whether their mom or dad should start in-home care assistance. They have a suspicion that all is not right, but their parent keeps reassuring them everything is fine, and of course, they want to believe it. So, here are some things to look for the next time you go over to your folks for a visit.
- If your loved one was organized before but now the bills or paperwork is piling up in the office, mail is not retrieved or opened.
- They are still tidy but possibly not changing their clothes or showering as often.
- Lack of housekeeping or necessary household repairs. Dishes are undone, untidy or house in now untidy in nature.
- Eating more prepared meals or frozen dinners instead of preparing meals with fresh ingredients.
- Having a few more medical emergencies may be a sign of your love one losing track of medications: forgetting to take them or taking too large a dose
- Noticing a few extra dings on the car? Driving may no longer be safe: gets lost easily, multiple moving violations, etc.
- Lack of interest in hobbies, activities or even leaving the house. Some aging seniors decrease engagement to cover up for a diminishing memory or sense of alertness.
Early engagement provides better outcomes for your aging loved one. Early detection of a potential problem is key, keeping an eye out for the warning signs helps ensure no one is taken by surprise, and that the difficult conversation can begin sooner rather than later. Your loved one can remain safer, remain independent and remain engaged longer at home with regular care visits if engaged earlier rather than later.
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