It can be difficult to know when your aging parent requires home healthcare. Sometimes, a loved one’s needs occur suddenly, while other times, it can be less obvious. How will you know when it’s time for home care? These tips can help you decide if your aging parent needs home healthcare services.
“Starting a conversation early with your loved one is a proactive approach to maintaining their health for years to come,” says Steve Goforth, president of Oxford Home Healthcare.
Look for these five signs that may indicate an elderly family member needs home healthcare.
Forgetfulness or mood changes
If your relative usually enjoys activities and suddenly starts to isolate, this may be a sign of memory problems, depression or another mood disorder. Your family member may be hesitant to tell you about memory loss or feelings of sadness because they don't want to burden you. If your loved one acts withdrawn, sad or anxious, these are additional cues that home care may be a good option. Depression may be especially hard to identify if you do not see your loved one regularly. Contact your relative’s healthcare provider to rule out mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or grief.
“Elderly family members often won't admit they are depressed, because they fear losing their independence. But the reality is that home care can actually help them maintain their current living situation,” says Goforth...
2) Weight loss or poor appetite
Does your parent have an empty refrigerator or one that contains only spoiled food? Perhaps your loved one doesn't eat at regular intervals or skips meals altogether. These are early signs that your family member may need assistance with food shopping, meal preparation and reminders to eat at mealtime. A home health aide can help cook meals and ensure that your relative is eating nutritious and healthy meals. If your parent is losing weight, this is another sign that help is needed.
3) Lack of personal hygiene
If your parent looks disheveled, unwashed or isn’t combing their hair, it’s time to look carefully at home care options. Sometimes mobility issues are to blame, especially if your relative has trouble standing, walking or accessing medication that's stored out of reach. Your loved one may simply feel too depressed or withdrawn to be concerned about their appearance and hygiene. A home aide can provide a variety of services including bathing, cooking and other daily living activities that your family member can no longer perform on their own.
4) Unexplained falls or bruises
Is your loved one having dizzy spells or problems with their overall balance? Falls are one of the worst problems for elderly people because they can result in broken bones or joint injuries. What’s more, complications from a broken hip can lead to death. In some situations, balance issues may indicate early signs of dementia. In severe cases, falls can even be deadly. That’s why it’s so important to contact your loved one’s healthcare provider and schedule an appointment for a medical exam.
5) Refusing to take medication
Part of an elderly person’s good health depends on taking their medications as prescribed by their healthcare provider. If your loved one forgets to take medication, throws out their medicine or denies needing it, it’s likely your relative isn't taking the medication regularly. This is another warning sign that home care may be desperately needed. Many home care organizations offer medication assistance programs to help your loved one get the care they need.
Sometimes, elderly family members are hesitant to share that they are having trouble caring for themselves because they don’t want nursing home care. That’s why it is critical for caregivers to know about home care options and how their relative can benefit from just a few hours of care and assistance each week.
Having a conversation with your family member doesn’t have to be difficult. When it’s time to talk with your elderly parent about home care, be sure to explain your concerns about their health and well-being. It’s also a good idea to allow them time and space to discuss how they feel about their situation, too.
Oxford HealthCare is committed to excellence in providing home care services to the elderly and disabled in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas. We invite you to contact us for the best possible plan for your family. Give us a call!