When you went home to your mom’s house for the holidays this year, you noticed something was off.
Maybe she seemed more forgetful than usual. Or maybe you found expired food in the refrigerator or a stack of unpaid bills on the counter.
Whatever the case, you’ve begun to suspect that your mom may not be able to handle things by herself anymore. It’s not that unusual a scenario. Nearly 70 percent of people over 65 will need some sort of daily assistance at some point, especially those who hope to age in place.
Here are some signs that it may be time to hire a caregiver for your parents:
1. Balance/mobility issues
Does mom or dad have troubling walking? Do they seem unsteady or drag their feet? Are they in pain when they get up from a seated position?
Any of these signals could mean they’re at risk for falling. Falls are the most common cause of injuries among senior citizens, sending millions of older Americans to the ER every year.
2. Forgotten medication
Nearly three-quarters of all senior citizens make mistakes when taking medications. It could be due to memory loss or depression, but either way, it presents a severe health threat. You may need to invest in a medication reminder or hire a part-time caregiver to monitor medications on a daily basis.
3. General forgetfulness
We all forget things as we get older. But chronic memory problems – forgetting to pay bills, missing appointments – might suggest a more serious issue. Talk to your parents’ doctor if you think they might be having memory problems.
4. Hygiene and home environment
Neglecting showers and wearing the same clothes for days at a time could suggest your parent is having trouble taking care of themselves.
Other potential warning signs can include unopened mail, piles of laundry, clutter and spoiled food in the refrigerator. These might be signs that your loved one can’t cope with day-to-day household tasks and that it might be time to hire a caregiver.
5. Trouble behind the wheel
Does mom seem reluctant to drive? Does it look like dad is having difficulties out on the road? Are there new dents in the family car? Many seniors see a loss of driving privileges as a loss of independence and may be reticent to give up their keys.
6. Depression and loneliness
Many older people report feeling lonely, and this feeling – coupled with depression – can take a harsh toll on their physical and mental well-being. If mom and dad have stopped socializing or are spending a lot of time in front of the TV, it might be time to hire a caregiver, if only to look in on them.
Knowing when it is time to hire a caregiver is important but it’s also important to remember that there are different levels of caregiving. Your mom might not need – or want – round-the-clock nursing care, but most home health care involves helping people deal with day-to-day tasks rather than medical care.
Some of the different levels of home health care include:
- Nursing care – The most common type of home health care, this can involve everything from wound dressing to making sure patients take their medication to just keeping on top of your parent’s general health.
- Physical therapy – These professionals can help your parent recover after an injury and regain strength in muscles and joints.
- Home health aides – If you think it’s time to hire a caregiver for your mom or dad, you may want to consider a home health aide, who can assist them with personal needs such as getting out of bed, bathing or dressing.
In the midst of all this is the question of aging in place. Most senior citizens, when asked, say they would prefer to spend their post-retirement years at home, as opposed to a nursing home or independent living center.
While knowing when it is time to hire a caregiver can certainly make life easier for your mom or dad, there are also some physical changes you can make to their home to help them age in place.
For example, installing grab bars can help them navigate their tub or shower, while ramps and stair lifts can make life easier for people who have difficulty climbing the stairs.
Are your parents having trouble with the stairs in their home? Turn to Pennsylvania Stairlifts. Whether you need to install a new platform lift outdoors or a chair lift in your home, we can find a way to make life easier for your parents.