June 24, 2019

“Does my parent need home care?”

As an attentive son or daughter, this can be a difficult question to ask – but it’s one of the most important conversations you’ll likely ever have with your elderly parents.

For many families, mom and dad are seen as being a little like superheroes. Many of us grow up idolizing our parents. We saw them keeping many different plates spinning, putting food on the table, giving back to their community, and achieving so much more, day in and day out.

When is it time to admit that the superhero in your life might need some help of their own?

The Benefits of Home Care for the Elderly

As your parents get older, they may need some additional support, above and beyond what you can provide on your own. Recent research suggests that about 70 percent of those turning age 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care at some point during their lives, typically for around 4.5 years on average.

For many families, home care can be a flexible, affordable, and effective option for getting older adults the support they need, on a schedule that works for them. It’s a way to increase independence and improve quality of life for seniors, allowing them to age in place in the comfort and safety of home.

At the same time, home care is a solution that can help give busy family caregivers time back for the other things in life, whether that means focusing on your own kids, making time to exercise, scheduling a vacation, or catching up on work.

Home care, provided by an experienced senior companion, can support your senior loved one in many different ways, including:

  • Assisting your loved one with housekeeping and chores
  • Helping with food shopping, meal prep, and dining
  • Aiding seniors with activities of daily living (including grooming, bathing, personal hygiene, walking from room to room, sitting and standing, and so on)
  • Providing transportation services
  • Helping with laundry services
  • Offering medicine reminders to seniors
  • Helping seniors keep up with their exercise and physical fitness goals
  • Acting as a friend, to play games, watch movies, go on walks, share meals, and more

When Is It Time to Talk About Home Care With My Parents?

So, as a loving son or daughter, when is it going to be the right time to have the conversation about getting started with home care?

It can certainly be tricky to find the right moment. It’s easy to rationalize away changes in your parent’s health and home environment. It can be tempting to take on more and more by yourself, even if it means experiencing increased stress and burnout.

It’s important to gain some distance and look at your parent’s living situation with clear eyes and an open mind. When you take a step back, you may notice some of the common “yellow flags” that indicate that your parent may need help above and beyond what you can provide alone. Here are a few of the common signs to watch out for:

Your Parent Seems Lonely or Isolated

Loneliness and isolation are some of the most significant health concerns for older adults. Social withdrawal can contribute to all sorts of other health problems for seniors, ranging from malnutrition, to depression and anxiety, to chronic illness.

Unfortunately, it’s all too common for seniors to feel like they have to “go at it alone.” As we get older, it can be harder to maintain close, social relationships. Often, the physical, mental, and social changes that can come with aging may cause seniors to feel isolated from others. In many cases, older adults may respond by becoming more and more withdrawn over time.

If your parent seems lonely or socially isolated, home care may be a way to get them the social support and companionship they truly need. If your parent is ignoring letters or phone calls, giving up on hobbies or activities they once loved, or missing appointments and dates, it may be time to consider reaching out for help. A home companion can help serve as a friendly face and a trustworthy presence around the house, while also providing services that can help your parent stay independent and active, like going to religious services, attending community events, or keeping up with doctor’s appointments.

Your Parent Is Having Difficulty Caring for Themselves and Their Home

Are you noticing changes to your parent’s appearance? Have you observed some significant changes in their home over time? If your parent is starting to ignore their own health and well-being, or is neglecting important chores and responsibilities around the house, it may be time to reach out and see if it’s time for some long-term care support.

There could be any number of causes affecting your parent’s ability to take care of themselves and their home. Challenges with mobility could be causing your parent to avoid doing tasks around the house. In other cases, your parent may be experiencing changes to their vision or sense of smell, or experiencing some cognitive changes, which may affect how much they can be active and notice problems in their own home.

When is it time to reach out for help? Be alert and notice if your parent has:

  • Rapidly lost weight
  • Seemed to be ignoring grooming and personal hygiene
  • Started moving slowly or tenderly around the house
  • Let their home become cluttered, dusty, or dirty
  • Neglected gardening, laundry, or other housekeeping chores
  • Stopped taking care of pets
  • Let food spoil or grow old

Your Parent Is Behaving Differently

One of the biggest surprises to many adult children of seniors is the role reversal that they undergo with their aging parents. Often, family caregivers are surprised when their parent undergoes mental, cognitive, and emotional changes. Sometimes, these changes are minor; in other cases, these shifts can be so extreme that you may feel frustrated, noticing that your parent acts like a completely different person.

As a loving son or daughter, it can be intimidating to see your parents behaving differently. Over time, many older adults may experience confusion, memory lapses, trouble communicating, mood swings, impulsiveness, and anger. If your loved one is experiencing some notable mental and behavioral changes that concern you, it could be a sign that they’re suffering from depression or anxiety, coping with physical pain, or experiencing some of the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Home care can be an effective way to help get your parent the social and emotional support they need, while giving you back time to rest and recharge.

You’re Hitting Your Limits as a Family Caregiver

As a family caregiver, it’s easy to feel like you need to be there for your aging loved ones at all times. Providing care to an elderly parent is an incredible act of love and devotion, but it’s also important to remember to care for yourself as you care for others. Many caregivers give so much, for so long, that they experience stress and burnout.

It is quite common for family caregivers to sacrifice their own health and happiness to give more to others. According to reports, many caregivers say that they do not take time to relax, and have skipped important doctor’s appointments. Many say that they are behind on sleep, or have neglected eating well or getting exercise.

Remember, your time is valuable, and you deserve the chance to rest, relax, and regain your own peace of mind. If you’re starting to notice that you’re feeling fatigued, irritable, stressed, anxious, isolated, or physically worn down, then it may be time to reach out for help. Home care can help give you the respite you deserve, providing support to your older loved one while you take some much-needed time to focus on your own health and well-being.

Companions for Seniors Can Help Your Parents Get the Support They Need

Does home care seem like the right fit for your parent’s changing needs? Do you have any more questions about creating a personalized care plan for your family? If you’re interested in learning more about home care, now is the time to get in touch with Companions for Seniors.

At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the safety of their own home by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships.

We believe that aging in place offers seniors substantial emotional and physical benefits, while also helping save money and time compared to expensive and inflexible institutionalized care options.

We are locally owned and operated in the Chicago area, with clients in the city and suburbs. Our companions are trained and bonded, and can help provide a variety of services designed to help your loved one remain in the comfort of their own home. Have any more questions? Interested in seeing what sets our home care services apart? Get in touch online today, or give us a call at 866-910-9020 to get the conversation started!