How to Identify if an Older Adult Needs Assistance at Home
Many older adults benefit from elder care services.
The signs at first may be quite subtle. An older adult you love may begin to be a bit more forgetful. There may be a shift in how the home is maintained, such as dishes left in the sink, or the yardwork left unattended. Identifying the defining line that indicates the need for elder care services isn’t always easy, but there are some key factors to take into consideration.
Is the home safe? First and foremost, it’s imperative that the home environment is safe from hazards such as fall risks, which can range from clutter blocking walking paths to insufficient lighting and handrails. If your loved one has experienced a fall, it’s especially imperative to take steps to enhance his or her safety – and home care provides the perfect balance between maintaining independence and reducing the risk of harm.
Can the senior attend to everyday living tasks? Activities of daily living, or ADLs, include such daily tasks as meal preparation, bathing and personal hygiene, paying bills, household chores, toilet use, etc. If an older adult struggles with taking care of these types of needs, an in-home care provider can offer the personalized assistance needed, while enabling the senior to continue to manage the tasks that can still be mastered independently.
Is memory loss an issue? It’s quite common for older adults to experience some measure of forgetfulness, but pay particular attention to whether your loved one becomes repetitive, confused about the current day, time, etc., is unable to follow instructions, gets lost in familiar locations, or forgets familiar people. These red flags warrant a checkup by the senior’s doctor to determine the underlying cause for memory problems. Professional home care providers with a specialty in memory care are invaluable when memory issues arise.
Is the senior losing weight? Losing weight without trying is a warning sign for a number of health concerns, whether physical or emotional. Many older adults who have lost a spouse, for instance, no longer want to prepare healthy meals for just one. Or a senior may have difficulty with shopping and cooking, or struggle with medication side effects that change how food tastes or smells. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your loved one’s doctor. Home care can help in a variety of ways, with services such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, transportation, and the companionship that helps lonely seniors enjoy mealtime – and life – once again.