It is pretty clear that after the age of 80, most older people will require some assistance. But, the need for help might occur many years earlier. Many seniors will deny the loss of independence for a long time and avoid admitting they need help. Usually, they don’t want to become a burden for the family and try to cope with aging problems in their ways.
If your parents are in this group and will not talk openly, you must be more attentive and pay attention to the cues that might tell whether they need assistance, what kind, and where. This especially applies if you don’t share a household with them or don’t see them daily.
If you are still unsure whether your loved ones need extra help or not, pay attention to the following warning signs:
1. Lack of personal hygiene
The senior suddenly stop taking baths, frequently smells like urine or other foul odors, and has bad breath. They stop shaving, and hair is unkempt. They wear dirty clothes and refuse to change them. This is an unmistakable sign that the senior isn’t capable of taking care of themselves.
2. Neglected household
When you arrive at their home, you notice that they have expired food in the fridge, the trash is piling outside, the house looks dirty, the garden is neglected with weeds and grass growing uncontrollably. The whole place looks unorganized, uncared for, or in terrible, unsanitary conditions. If your seniors stopped doing household chores, this indicates they need help to maintain the home in livable conditions.
3. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
They aren’t able to manage their medications and forget to take them too frequently. They miss the necessary appointments and often have to reschedule them. They fail to pay the bills. They have trouble with cooking and have difficulty following a recipe or following any instructions. They struggle with doing routine household chores such as laundry or washing dishes. This is an obvious sign that they need extra help.
4. Mood changes
A sudden change in mood isn’t a sign that your senior needs assistance. After all, we have moody people of all ages. But, if you notice some of the signs mentioned above, plus drastic mood swings, you should consider it a warning sign. Is your loved one behaving strangely with you or other relatives? Do they look depressed, with a lack of energy, and no longer smile so often? Anxiety and depression are common in seniors and should be addressed as soon as noticed.
5. Mobility problems
It is expected that people slow down physically with age and become less and less agile. Suppose you notice that your parents have difficulties getting up from the bed or chair, avoiding stairs, stopping doing some of their favorite activities, or complaining about pain while moving. In that case, this indicates they need some on-hand assistance. Mobility problems may indicate more serious underlying health conditions, so consult the healthcare provider for additional advice. Considering that mobility issues increase the probability of fall, which is the leading cause of seniors’ injury. Mobility issues, health-related risks, medication side effects, and home hazards combined present a high-risk combination.
6. Memory loss
Older adults can experience memory loss every once in a while, such as not knowing where the remote control is or misplacing the keys. Still, when memory loss starts to have consequences for crucial life aspects, it is a warning sign. This includes forgetting close friends or relatives, forgetting where they are, forgetting how to drive, etc. This even could put the senior’s life at risk. Pay attention to early signs of dementia and consult a healthcare provider for additional screening.
7. Family carer burnout
It’s not only about the seniors. Taking care of elderly relatives isn’t easy. Even if you want to support them 24/7, it is almost impossible to handle all the tasks and keep an eye on them all the time. With time, the daily to-do list gets only longer and everything more complicated. It takes a toll on family caregivers. Exhaustion, depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, various health problems are common problems family caregivers face. In this case, getting help is not a fancy request but a necessity.
Now, what can I do?
If you cannot provide all the support your parents require, you should consider hiring a caregiver. Your parents’ particular situation and health condition will determine what kind of assistance they need. For a start, this can help with household chores, run errands, help with meal preparation and keep them company. If necessary, you might need to consider a caregiver who can also handle basic nursing tasks, such as medication administration, hygiene, toileting, or more specialized health needs. If you are involved in your parents’ care full-time, hiring a respite caregiver occasionally will give you a much-needed break to rest and recharge.
You can make the process of taking care of your aging parents a lot easier with available new technologies and digital tools, such as the Gherry app. It is a comprehensive solution that connects aging parents, their families, and caregivers in a single platform where they can monitor and organize all related to health and care. The app includes all the most essential senior self-care and caregiving tools, including medication management, health trackers, storing relevant documents, organizing appointments, delegating tasks, and much more. Those who have aging parents and are not nearby can keep an eye on their loved ones and verify their condition at any time with this app.
If the situation permits in-house health and care, getting an aide is a great solution beneficial for everyone involved. It will help your parents get better care, a safer environment, and companionship, and you will be in peace by knowing that they are taken care of.