How to Know When Your Elder Loved One Needs Care at Home
Traci Shares Experienced Insight on What Home Care Is
First, it is important to realize that there are two types of “home care”:
A Non-Medical or Personal Service Home Care Agency is useful for non-medical situations, does not require the consent of the doctor and is designed to keep the elderly person as independent and healthy as possible in their home setting even if that is a retirement or assisted living community.
- A Home Health or Medical Home Health Agency, often associated with a hospital, is one in which the person is homebound, requires the medical skill of a Registered Nurse or Physical Therapist and a doctor has ordered the care.
It is a common finding that Seniors want to stay in their own homes whenever possible so the idea of “layering in” home care services is a great and often economical way to accomplish this without having to put mom or dad at risk living alone as they age or have to move to a facility type setting. But, how do you know when the time is right to consider in home care services?
Tips to look for in your elder loved one:
- Changes in mood such as; does mom or dad seem moodier, down, blue or sad.
- Changes in behavior. Mom isn’t going to church like she used to. Dad isn’t going out for “coffee with the guys,” or other indicators they are withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy.
- Loss of appetite or loss of weight for no apparent reason. Sometimes, especially after the loss of their spouse, cooking for one may no longer be enjoyable or as purposeful.
- Unkept house. Mom’s normally tidy house is no longer so tidy.
- Spills or spoiled food in fridge, unhealthy or “easy” foods that are not what your elder loved one used to eat.
- Changes in personal hygiene habits. No longer are shirts fresh but may have stains on them or are being worn repeatedly without washing. May be dressing inappropriately for the weather.
- Missing appointments to doctor, hair salon or social outings that used to be routine.
- Missing medications, not understanding why they are taking each medication.
- Falls or other accidents. May be noticed by increased bruising on arms or face.
- Trips to the emergency room for falls or illnesses.
- Not paying bills or mail is piling up. Feeling overwhelmed.
- Inability to drive confidently, gets lost or confused, loss of focus or loss of skill.
- Pots and pans left burning on the stove, stove is left on, even after done cooking.
Most commonly, seniors use one or both types of home care service at the average age of 80 years old. Although they may have many loving family members who care deeply for them, it may require significant time and training to care for an aged parent or relative. In our time-starved world, spend your precious time with a loved one enjoying each other’s company and not running errands, helping with medications, bathing, cooking or cleaning. This is the role that a loving agency and professional Caregiver could do.