8 Signs it’s Time to Consider In-Home Elderly Care for Your Loved One
Caring for an elderly loved one comes with great responsibility. There may come a time when you start to question if the care you can provide is enough for their specific needs, and if you are ready to provide additional support if and when it is needed. If you can see signs your loved one’s mental or physical health is declining, it may be time to consider professional in-home care.
A qualified carer can offer support and assistance in the comfort of your loved one’s home so they can maintain their sense of independence and security, while you can rest assured they are receiving quality and compassionate care.
The topic of in-home care may be difficult to bring up with your loved one, but it is crucial to have the conversation if their health and wellbeing is at stake. Here are 8 signs it may be time to discuss in-home support with your loved one.
1. Behavioural Changes
Whilst it is natural for our behaviour and attitude to change as we age, there are some signs- such as outbursts and increased anxiety- that may indicate your loved one’s mental health and overall well being are in decline.
Behaviours that may be affecting your loved one’s health and wellbeing include:
Aggressive behaviour, both physical and verbal
Delusions and hallucinations
Indications of depression
Actions that are out of character on a continuous basis
Unexplained mood swings
In addition to the above, behaviours such as disorientation, confusion and forgetfulness are common symptoms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s. As a close family member- and primary caregiver- of someone displaying these behaviours and actions, dealing with this might be quite overwhelming.
In these circumstances, it is important to get professional care and support for your loved one. This doesn’t mean they will need to enter residential care, there are many options for quality in-home care to support your loved one’s day-to-day needs without disrupting their lifestyle and routine. For example, Just For U Care specialises in tailored dementia care, offering qualified and experienced carers to assist your loved one within their home.
2. Increased Forgetfulness
Memory loss and forgetfulness- although typical amongst the elderly- are some of the earliest and most common signs of dementia. Forgetting where common household items are kept, skipping medication, missing social plans or appointments, wandering and having trouble keeping track of the date may seem like simple missteps, but in some cases can pose a serious risk if your loved one is living on their own.
If you suspect your loved one may be suffering from memory loss or the onset of dementia, it is crucial to seek medical advice, starting with your G.P. Following a checkup, it is recommended to start discussing in-home care services- such as personal care, medication assistance and domestic cleaning just to name a few- with your loved one.
3. Unkempt Home
Letting household chores slide is something we are all guilty of, but if you notice a declining trend in the cleanliness and tidiness of your loved one’s home, it may be a sign that in-home help is needed. Signs your loved one is struggling with their usual housekeeping tasks include:
Dirty floors, dirty dishes in the sink, dirty clothes
An empty fridge or expired food in the fridge/pantry
Stacks of unopened mail
Plants left to die
Mess or clutter around the home (more than usual)
Items consistently placed in the wrong spot (eg. pantry items placed in the fridge)
There could be a number of reasons for the decline, such as lack of motivation, a decline in mobility or physical strength, recent illness or forgetfulness. No matter the reason, ongoing issues should be addressed and in-home care should be considered. A weekly or fortnightly clean by a compassionate in-home carer can do a world of good, ensuring your loved one can remain living comfortably at home, for longer.
4. Declining Personal Hygiene and Appearance
Your loved one’s appearance can offer you an insight into how they are managing on a day-to-day basis. Have you noticed your loved one is:
Wearing the same clothes each day
Is wearing stained/dirty clothes
Has developed body odour
Not brushing their teeth
Not washing or brushing their hair
These could be signs they are struggling (either physically or mentally) and may require more help than they currently receive. Often when a loved one stops maintaining their appearance and hygiene, it is a sign they could be isolating themselves from friends and family, which could also be detrimental to their mental health and wellbeing.
If you are concerned the decline could be due to memory loss or health issues, we recommend taking your loved one for a check-up with their G.P. An in-home carer can assist with your loved one’s personal hygiene needs, whether they stem from memory loss or physical restrictions on the body.
5. Poor Nutrition and Weight Loss/Gain
A healthy and stable diet is crucial to the wellbeing of your loved one, particularly as they get older. It is natural for eating habits and intake to change over time, but sudden weight loss or weight gain is a definite red flag.
Poor nutrition and sudden weight loss/gain can be caused by a number of factors:
Forgetting to prepare food or eat meals
Physical decline and subsequent difficulty preparing food
Loss of appetite due to illness (physical or mental)
Inability to get to the shops to purchase food
Just For U Care’s in-home carers can assist with meal planning, preparation and routines to ensure your loved one maintains a healthy eating lifestyle, contributing to their overall health and wellbeing at home.
6. Isolation and Withdrawal
Companionship, social activities and connections outside the home are crucial to your loved one’s mental health and wellbeing. Socialising can have numerous positive effects, such as preventing feelings of loneliness, fostering a sense of happiness and belonging and improving memory and cognitive abilities.
It is important to look out for signs of withdrawal and isolation, such as:
Avoiding or having difficulty maintaining contact with others
An increased desire to stay at home
Cancelling or missing planned social activities
Other signs as mentioned above, such as wearing dirty clothes, maintaining an unkempt appearance and giving up on cleaning or tidying the home.
If you are concerned about your loved one, in-home care and companionship may be a viable solution. Just For U Care’s caregivers offer companionship services within the home and can also accompany your loved one to social activities to encourage them to engage with friends, family and the wider community.
As our loved ones grow older they also become more frail, increasing the risk of falls or injuries around the home. Whether these injuries occur more often at night or during the day, an in-home carer can provide the support and guidance needed to prevent further injury.
8. Are You Burnt Out
When taking care of an elderly family member or friend, we tend to put their needs first, taking on a great responsibility in addition to our own job, household and family responsibilities.
From household chores and grocery shopping to managing their medication and transport to and from appointments, caregiving can be both physically exhausting and emotionally draining.
It is important to recognise when you are feeling stressed, exhausted or burnt-out as a result of your caregiving responsibilities. If your care responsibilities are also negatively impacting your work, other family members, your own health or the level of care you can provide to your loved one, it is probably time to explore alternative care options.
In-home aged care services, such as those provided by Just For U Care, offer a great solution, either for respite care or ongoing support. Qualified and compassionate in-home carers will work together with you and your loved one to both provide hands-on support and reduce the burden on you. Bringing a carer into the home will enable your loved one to maintain their lifestyle and day-to-day activities while providing you the relief you need to get back to your daily routine.
Speak with the Just For U Care team today to find out how we can support your loved one with our in-home care services.