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10 Signs Your Parents Need Home Care

10 Signs Your Parents Need Home Care

10 Signs Your Parents Need Home Care

Certain signs indicate that your parents might not be as able to manage as well as they used to: your father can't ever seem to find his medication or your mother doesn't mention the large scratch on her car. Or perhaps you've even dropped by the family home and found the kettle whistling away on the stove.

These are all common indicators of diminishing autonomy and declining health. Despite your efforts, and even with the best of intentions, you know that you can't be there for your parents all the time.

Everyone ages differently, but there are warning signs to look out for.

1. Forgotten medication

Missed doses or medication errors (such as overdosing or running out of a prescription prior to the renewal date) can cause serious medical issues. Seniors often have multiple prescriptions to treat various medical conditions. Without assistance or reminders, maintaining these prescriptions can be a difficult task, resulting in a higher risk of serious complications.

2. An unexplained fender bender

Look for signs of negligence such as unpaid traffic tickets, a lack of maintenance or new dents and scratches on the car. These are all signs that your parent may be losing their ability to drive.

This could be caused by worsening vision, loss of orientation, difficulty merging with the flow of traffic, driving below the speed limit or slow reaction time. Any one or combination of these factors could lead to a serious accident.

3. A missed appointment

Missing appointments can be a sign of memory loss or difficulty with time management. However, it could also be due to limited transportation alternatives without access to a car, not having a travel companion, being unfamiliar with public transportation options or simply lacking the personal or physical confidence to venture out.

4. The unpaid bills

Seniors may feel overwhelmed by simple tasks such as going to the mailbox, managing daily mail or keeping their chequebook up to date. This is particularly common when their eyesight is deteriorating or when these responsibilities have shifted to them following the loss of a spouse. Difficulty managing these tasks can lead to overdue bills, bounced cheques, suspended service for non-payment and other debt issues.

5. Getting lost

Anyone with memory issues who is able to walk runs the risk of one day getting lost. Be on the lookout for the warning signs of dementia. If, for example, your parent begins returning later and later from their regular walk, or has trouble finding familiar places or even rooms in their own home such as the bathroom or their bedroom, it is clear that a watchful eye and help are needed.

6. Piles of laundry

If household chores are being neglected, it may simply be that these tasks are becoming more difficult or exhausting for your parent to manage. Mobility issues, memory loss or even a lack of stimulation can all be factors. This sign of decline is particularly worrisome if your parent is usually a fastidious housekeeper.

7. An empty refrigerator

Seniors living alone or who have never been at ease in the kitchen tend to neglect their diet. Their refrigerator may be almost empty or full of spoiled food.

Even if they are consuming enough calories to survive, seniors can suffer from malnutrition, which can result in higher cholesterol levels and lower vitamin intake. Studies show that poor diet can increase the risk of dementia in seniors and weaken the immune system.

8. The torn shower curtain

Damage to bathroom accessories such as shower curtains, towel racks or windowsills may indicate that your parent is using them for support, which could be dangerous if they lose their balance.

9. Dishevelled appearance

Changes in appearance are the clearest sign that help is needed. Signs include: unkempt hair, strong body odour, an unshaven face or clothing that is unwashed, unchanged for several days or not appropriate for the weather.

This obvious neglect could be due to the fact that doing laundry or getting in and out of the bath has become too difficult physically. Lots of people who live alone also worry about slipping and falling in the shower or bathtub with no one to help them up.

10. Neglected plants

Your parent tells you that they continue to enjoy their favourite pastime—gardening—but nothing gets done and their indoor plants lose their vigour and brilliance.

They ask to go home, but they are already there. They mention that they have to go to work, despite being retired for the past 20 years. They get lost at the mall they have been going to for years. These are all early signs of dementia.

Have you noticed any of these warning signs in your parents? Share your experience on our Facebook page

Home Instead Senior Care: More than technical help

Home Instead offers home care services that can help you care for your loved ones.

Home Instead's professional caregivers become part of your family, like the sister or brother you never had, to help care for those that you hold dear. They perform the same tasks as you would, with consistent care.

When you can't be there, the caregiver develops a connection with your parent in order to become more than just a caregiver or companion: she becomes a friend, a resource that you and your parent can count on.

Contact us to learn about our range of services and the duties we can help with. Find peace of mind knowing that your parents are well cared for, safe and in good company.

Related topic : Home care services for your every need

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