Should You be Seeking Help for Your Aging Loved One?
After years of working hard, raising families and dealing with the hustle and bustle of daily life, many seniors wish to relax, age gracefully, and live healthy, fulfilling lives. Seniors prefer to stay in the comfort of their home during their later years, but encounter a number of obstacles. As they grow older, an increasing number of seniors experience health conditions, physical illnesses, and pain. At the same time, their social circles become smaller, especially after retirement. Their ability to do things on their own becomes increasingly limited and they start requiring more help from family and outside organizations. The following is a list of signs that your loved one may need additional assistance in order to stay or age well in the comforts of their homes. We welcome you to complete the following checklist to see if your loved one is in need of additional help.
Does Your Aging Loved One Have Physical Mobility Difficulties?
Many elderly persons experience mobility or movement challenges at some point in their lives. Have you noticed any of the following difficulties with movement in your loved one?
- Sitting down and getting up out of their chair
- Getting in and out of bed
- Getting in and out of their car
- Climbing stairs or even going down the stairs
- Getting to and from the bathroom
- Bending to move heavy items such as throwing the garbage out or lifting laundry baskets
- Problems with manual dexterity (moving their hands) which can affect their ability to open jars, lift and grab objects
- Does your loved one have any of the following health conditions such as decreased muscle mass, illness, arthritis, joint pain, increase in bone fragility, injury to certain body areas or recent surgery.
Seniors experiencing such difficulties can benefit hugely from changes to their environments, such as the installation of home care appliances. Using devices, including chairs that are easier to move in and out of, wheelchairs, walkers or canes, can help to keep your loved one comfortable and safe in their home for longer. You may also want to consider moving high use items from cabinets and shelves to the counter so that they are easier for your loved one to access.
Is Your Again Loved One Having Difficulty Preparing Meals?
A number of seniors have difficulty with daily cooking. Do you notice your loved one having any of the following concerns while preparing meals?
- Decreased ability to move hands and fingers, making it harder to open jars and use kitchen gadgets or appliances
- Increased physical limitations, such as pain in joints, back pain, and difficulty with balance and or standing for long periods of time
- Being too fatigued to cook and clean in the kitchen
- Difficulty with their hearing or vision preventing them from seeing items clearly, or moving about easily in the kitchen
- Inability or difficulty leaving the house to get groceries and kitchen supplies
If your loved one is coping with any of the above, you can provide assistance by having their eye-sight and hearing checked. Your loved one may require proper eye wear/auditory devices to function better. Family members can pitch in by cooking extras at each meal and packing them for your loved one to eat. You can also pick up extra groceries whenever shopping and deliver them to your elderly loved one. As well, providing your loved one with a table and chair in the kitchen can be helpful so that they do not have to stand while doing meal prep work. The use of memory foam mats, well secured to the floor to prevent slipping, can also help a senior stand more comfortably when cooking on the stove or rinsing dishes at the sink. Your loved one may also benefit from the use of kitchen gadgets, such as rubber jar openers, electric can openers, and vegetable cutters as their ability to use their hands and fingers decreases. Harmony Caregiving provides professional Caregivers that will grocery shop and prepare healthy meals for your loved one if needed.
Is Housecleaning Being Neglected?
You may notice that your loved one’s home is not being cleaned or kept up to previous standards. Have you noticed any of the following signs that your loved one is having difficulty with home maintenance?
- The house is messy and cluttered with items
- There are many dishes in the sink, left over foods, and foods that are not stored properly.
- Garbage not thrown away, stale smells and odours in the house
- Laundry not done or put away
- House and bathroom not cleaned to previous standards. Many seniors can’t bend to clean around the toilet and get to other tight constricted spaces throughout the house.
- Garden, yard, and outside of house is neglected
Elderly persons may not be able to maintain their homes to previously held standards. This can be due to fatigue and physical discomfort. Many may have problems with their vision and can’t see clearly, or they may have problems with their memory and don’t realize they have not cleaned their home. As well, seniors are not around other people as often and may not feel the need to maintain the house.
What About Home Care & Maintenance?
Do you feel any of the following have impacted your loved ones ability to maintain and clean their home?
- Physical pain, health conditions or illnesses that impede their ability to clean easily
- Having a reduced appetite, and therefore do not frequent the kitchen often, resulting in neglect of this area
- Decreased ability to concentrate and inability to complete cleaning tasks
- Being on medication that reduces their alertness and energy, or otherwise impedes their ability to take part in household tasks
- They have stopped caring about the condition of their surroundings, due to depression or other health problems
- They stop noticing whether or not the home is clean due to dementia or other illness
Look at the issues that are preventing your loved one from keeping house and the possible reasons why. Then try to address as many as you are able. You may need to assist them with weekly clean-ups and organization. Try putting regularly used items in easily accessible bins/boxes to make cleanup and sorting items easier. Throw the garbage away on a weekly basis to prevent clutter and odours. It may be helpful to do a load of essential laundry for them once a week if they are no longer able. If this ever becomes too overwhelming/ time consuming for you or your family members then consider hiring outside support to clean the house once every 1 to 2 weeks. At Harmony we offer such cleaning services, as well as grocery shopping and healthy meal preparation.
Does Your loved One Avoid Leaving the House to Get Items, Run Errands, or Socialize With Others?
As seniors age, their social circles become smaller and smaller. Some people may start to withdraw and stay housebound for longer and longer periods of time. Have you noticed your loved one increasingly spending time at home and avoiding the outside world? Do you have any of the following concerns?
- Difficulty driving to and from places. Such difficulties can involve physical limitations (i.e., moving to and from the car, in and out of the car). As well, they may have difficulty seeing or hearing leading to a fear of driving
- Not being close or able to access public transit further limiting their ability to move about the city
- Difficulty walking, may have a physical disability or pain getting around, leading to a very real fear of falling
- Increased fatigue and being more easily overwhelmed by outside stresses
- Increasingly disorientated due to medications, health conditions and illnesses
- Feeling unsafe and vulnerable in public places due to physical or emotional problems
- Difficulty socializing or communicating with others due to dementia, depression or other mental/physical illness
Seniors encountering such difficulties find it challenging to leave the home and instead retreat into it. Such individuals may benefit from additional transportation services, drives/carpools from family members and friends or moving to another residence so they are closer to nearby stores and public transit. As well, a number of seniors are affected by health conditions and illnesses that can impede their ability to communicate with others.
These seniors can benefit from having professional Caregivers visit and assist with communication, public outings, errand running, medical appointments, and hospital procedures.
The above article of difficulties observed in seniors is by no means fully complete as there are several others that can be experienced. However, if you have noticed any of the above-mentioned challenges in your loved one, this may provide a strong indication that your loved one requires the assistance of a Caregiver or Health Care Aide. These in-home support services will help your loved one age safely in the comfort of their own home.
Safety Prevention Can Prevent a Serious Emergency
In addition, many family Caregivers have noticed several other factors affecting their aging loved ones, safety is among one of the greatest concerns. As seniors age they are at an increased risk for tripping, falling, and having accidents that injure themselves within the home or outside. For instance, fire-hazards can occur when appliances such as the stove, oven, or iron are left on and neglected. As well, accidents can occur if a senior mistakenly ingests a non-edible substance or takes their medication incorrectly.
A number of seniors develop health conditions and illnesses that require regular medications and routine monitoring (i.e., blood pressure, glucose, heart-rate etc.,). They may forget to check these factors daily, or take their medication at prescribed times, thereby making their health concerns worse. A number of seniors experience health conditions that are embarrassing to talk about. Such is the case with urinary or bowel incontinence. They try to find ways to cope on their own, resulting in hiding it as long as possible, even from those close to them.
As their contact with the outside world decreases, some individuals may not feel the need to groom and dress themselves as they did previously. They may begin to look disheveled, not bathe as often, or not dress appropriately for situations.
Does Your Aging Loved One Pick Up or Attend to Their Mail on a Regular Basis?
This can lead to difficulty reaching people, paying bills on time and staying informed. In addition, a number of seniors are susceptible to mail fraud and scams that try to take money and resources from them. All the above can occur as a part of normal aging. With persons experiencing dementia these concerns can become amplified.
If you have noticed any of the above problems in your aging loved one contact us to speak with a senior care specialist. Are you helping a loved one? Subscribe to our blog, or stay tuned for more information and solutions to help you further assist your loved ones with their life while maintaining a healthy balance in yours.