40+ Signs Your Senior Needs In-Home Help
Though they may not be obvious, there are signs and signals that tell you it is time to arrange in-home care for your senior loved one. These signs can often be missed. They are easy to attribute to other things that are going on in your senior’s life. They are easy to absorb into your and your family’s daily life and routine as you continue to care for senior, without realizing the impact of these changes.
That absorption often comes at a cost. You may not even realize that cost, because it might hide in things like increased levels of stress, overload, overwhelm (for you as caregiver or for the senior themselves).
It very well may be that you are missing some real indicators that your senior needs help because you and your family have just kept on keeping on and found ways to make sure your loved one is cared for. In these circumstances, it’s easy for things to slide and for the situation to grow more critical than you realize it is.
44 Signs It Is Time for Home Care Services
If you see your senior loved one exhibiting these signs, it may be time to bring in more help in the form of in-home care. This may be full- or part-time care, home care or homemaker’s services, personal care, companion care, or more advanced skilled medical care.
Talk to a home care provider if you notice things like:
- Your loved one missing appointments or meetings
- Medications are unfilled or unused, or are used too quickly
- Has difficulty standing or walking on their own
- Has frequent and increasing bruising, cuts, or scrapes (which may indicate balance issues or frequent falls)
- Has burns from cooking, heating, or bathing
- Showing a decrease in personal care and hygiene
- Has bathrooming accidents
- Appears generally disheveled as if they may be having difficulty dressing, and/or not caring to dress
- Not dressing appropriately for the weather or seasons
- Significant changes to weight, especially weight loss
- Changes to the relationship with family, especially family caregivers
- Arguing with family or family caregivers
- Time with family is spent mostly on tasks like managing care, hygiene, home, or finances
- Is increasingly forgetful
- Is often confused
- Shows confusing or poor reasoning skills
- Exhibits poor cognition
- Shows poor judgment or is falling victim to scams
- Sleeps too much or too little
- Seems moody or to have frequent mood swings (up or down)
- Appears depressed
- Complains of frequent boredom
- Personality changes
- Is increasingly secluded
- Is not engaging in socialization or social activities
- Does not seem to take enjoyment in activities, hobbies, or interests that they once did
- Does not answer or return phone calls
- Neglecting housekeeping and cleaning, or if you notice an increasingly dirty house
- Strong odors in the house, such as urine or old food or trash smells
- Stains or wet areas on furniture and carpets
- Has empty cabinets or little or no food in the house (or food that is outdated and rotting)
- Has burned pots and pans from cooking
- Unopened mailed
- Forgets or neglects to pay bills
- Late payment notices
- Is having financial trouble
- Bounced checks
- Wandering outside the home
- Gets lost or confuses directions when out walking or driving
- Gets into car accidents
- Vehicle dents and scratches
- Has been diagnosed with a mental or physical condition or illness that makes being alone unsafe, or one which requires additional care, medically skilled care, or help with activities of daily living
- Exhibits dangerous behaviors, including suicidal thoughts and tendencies—mental health is as much an issue for elders as other age groups!
- Unable to safely perform activities of daily living (these may include personal care or hygiene, meal preparation, eating, or light housekeeping).
Tailored Services for Your Senior
It is always best to be able to take your time choosing home care agencies and providers. When avoidable, it is never a great idea to do this under duress. This is why it is important to know the early and advanced signs that indicate your senior needs more help than you are able to provide; to know when it is time to find the best home care for your loved one.
As you interview agencies, remember that no two home care contracts are ever the same. Why? Because the needs of no two clients are ever the same. Quality home care means tailoring services to the needs of not only the senior, but also of the family members who may be contributing to or managing that care.
Do not be forced into a one-size-fits-all package. Look for an agency with options and flexibility. Look for a company with an array of services to suit your needs. Main services are important, of course, but so are auxiliary services. These might be things like transportation, companion care, emergency coverage, case management and care management, assistance with obtaining medical care and attending medical visits, and more.
Private Home Care Services, a Massachusetts home care agency, provides a wide array of services for seniors and others who need in-home care. Services can be tailored to fit the needs, abilities, or disabilities of the client. PHCS prides itself on working collaboratively with family and providers and can provide both unskilled and medically skilled home care services. PHCS is a medium-sized agency dedicated to person-to-person care and communication with both clients and family members.