Senior Care: How to Know When It’s Time to Ask for Help

Last updated on May 30th, 2024 at 07:55 pm

There’s no shame in needing a caregiver. It’s estimated that 70% of adults who reach age 65 will eventually need long-term services and supports, such as home care or residential care. However, how do you know when ‘eventually’ arrives?

If you or your loved one experience these aging-related difficulties, you may benefit from an in-home caregiver or another form of assistance.

Personal Care

If your loved one is beginning to put off showers or changing clothes, it may be a sign that they need assistance with these tasks. Many people who experience aging-related challenges with daily tasks end up wearing the same clothes for days at a time and showing a decrease in personal care.

The key here is to notice whether there has been a negative change in hygiene. If your loved one is simply less interested in hair or makeup than they used to be, that isn’t necessarily a sign of a problem. However, increasing body odor may be a sign that they need assistance with showering.

Difficulties With Household Tasks

Many of us struggle to keep up with household chores. A little clutter isn’t necessarily a sign of a problem. However, a noticeable decline in the home environment might be a sign that help is needed to keep up with housekeeping tasks.

Increasing clutter, expired food in the refrigerator, and unopened mail piling up can all be signs that someone needs a caregiver’s assistance.

Difficulty Balancing or Moving Around

When you are young, falling down is generally not a big deal. However, as we age, our bones become more brittle even as our balance decreases. An older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds.

If you notice that you or your loved one is becoming less steady, it may be time to look for help. Keep an eye out for dragging feet and unexplained bruises, which could be a sign of previous falls.

Dangerous Driving

Loss of driving privileges feels like a loss of independence to many adults. Many people will not admit to themselves or their families when they are no longer able to safely drive.

If you or your loved one can no longer drive safely, know that there are options to help maintain some independence. Using public transportation, getting help from a home care aide, asking friends for a ride, getting help from volunteers, or using a senior call-and-ride program could all be viable options depending on the situation.

Chronic Forgetfulness

Mild forgetfulness is a normal part of aging — and to some extent, a normal part of life for people of all ages. However, chronic late bill payments, missed medications, or missed doctors’ appointments could be signs of a serious problem.

Consult with a doctor if you are worried that you or your loved one has memory issues. If forgetfulness is getting in the way of daily life, it’s probably time to seek assistance.

Mood Changes

Many seniors, especially those who are no longer in the workforce, experience chronic loneliness. Sometimes loneliness is accompanied by mood swings or depression, which may manifest as losing interest in activities that were previously enjoyed or spending too much time in front of the TV.

If you or your loved one is struggling to maintain mental or emotional health, you may benefit from finding a caregiver to provide companionship. There’s a good chance it will make all the difference!

Family Stress

As we age, our family members often begin to take more responsibilities in our lives. They may even become caregivers. However, providing care often means those family members struggle to care for themselves.

If you or your loved ones are experiencing caregiver burnout, it may be time to hire a professional caregiver who can ease the burden. It’s OK to admit you can’t do everything that’s needed on your own — and to seek help.

Hiring an Adult Caregiver

If any of these signs resonated with you, it’s time to seriously consider hiring an adult caregiver. You might have some difficult conversations ahead of you. While it may be tempting to avoid the issue as long as possible, getting assistance will take a huge weight off your shoulders.

It’s important to emphasize the benefits of care, especially if your loved one resists the idea. Many people who try out home care services find that they are more independent when they have someone who can help with necessary tasks.

Finding the Right Caregiver

Care options include signing up with a caregiver agency, home health service, adult day care program, or adult family home. The right choice depends on your unique situation. Regardless of which care option you choose, you won’t regret prioritizing the care you need.

Sunrise Services trains and provides caregivers to people across Western Washington. We serve those who are aging, experience physical or mental challenges, have developmental disabilities, or need to help to manage money or stay in their homes. Contact us today to learn more about your home care options.

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