Over the past few months, my husband and I have noticed that my parents seem to be having some issues with normal daily routines. We are thinking it may be time for home care but are unsure? Since I am the oldest child, I feel it is my responsibility to ensure that my parents are safe, comfortable and cared for. How do you know when it’s the right time to begin this discussion with aging parents? Please Help!
Sincerely, Oldest Child Duty
Dear Oldest Child Duty,
It is often very difficult for grown children to watch and accept their parents getting older and not be able to do all they used to do in their younger years. Seeing your parents be less independent, not have the energy to go out, and losing interest in their hobbies can be hard to witness. Perhaps your mother just had surgery, and she just can’t get back to baseline. Or perhaps your father is walking slower and getting forgetful. Maybe there has been a recent loss of a loved one. Obviously, you want to help as much as you can, but many times you cannot be there as much as needed. Many times, if you ask your mother or father how they are doing, they will insist they are fine. It is often very difficult to admit to needing some kind of help, and many times parents or loved ones fear losing their independence. (Read our blog about having difficult conversations with your parents.)
My suggestion is that with each visit, keep a log of things that you make you uneasy, jeopardize their safety, and are out of character for your parents. If you notice some or all of the signs below for an extended period of time, it may be a good indication that in home care should be a topic to discuss with your parents in the near future.
- Neglecting Household Responsibilities
- Has unopened mail or newspapers started piling up?
- Are there bills piling up or not being paid?
- Are there dirty dishes in the sink? Is the trash piling up?
- Is the laundry not being done?
- Are they not going food shopping, or is there spoiled food left in the refrigerator?
- Personal Hygiene
- Does your parent or loved one have an odor?
- Wearing soiled clothing, or wearing the same outfit each time you visit?
- Are they incontinent?
- Are they being compliant with medications? (Learn about PAN's total medication management)
- Other Indicators that In Home Care Might Be Appropriate
- Are they walking slower, having trouble getting out of chair, or walking up stairs
- Are they falling often? Do you notice any bruises? (Learn about fall prevention for seniors)
- Are they having trouble completing routine tasks?
- Has their sleep schedule changed?
- Are they having extreme mood changes?
- Are there recent dents on the car?
- Are they having any short term memory issues?
The above red flags may indicate some form of in home care support would be helpful, and also assist you with presenting the topic to your parents so together you can discuss the concerns. There are many options and resources for in home care available to you, so you can be comfortable and confident with your decision.
All The Best,