When I worked at a nursing home, many middle-aged children of the elderly were reluctant to admit their loved ones to our program. It can be difficult to no longer see your mom or dad as the robust, healthy person you remember growing up. However, it’s important that they receive the help they need. Luckily, it may not be time to admit them to a nursing home yet – or ever. Here are five signs that your senior parents need home care – a terrific alternative to long-term care facilities.
They have a chronic health condition
Chronic health conditions may not require that your mom or dad move into a nursing home. Illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease can often be managed outside a facility with the right supervision. However, you need to make sure you hire a professional or formal caregiver who has the knowledge, experience, and skill to monitor your loved one. If you don’t, you place them at just as big a risk as if you’d left them completely alone.
They take a lot of medications
Even if they don’t have a complicated health condition, it’s possible your senior parents need home care anyway. If they take several prescriptions and vitamins each day, it can be difficult to remember how much to take, when to do so, and what foods and other medications can’t interact. A home care worker can coordinate all this for them, giving them – and you – peace of mind.
They become more forgetful
Cognitive abilities — including memory – can decline as one ages. If your elderly loved one lives alone, this can be especially dangerous. What happens if they leave the door unlocked, or fail to turn off the stove? Hiring a home care worker can prevent a possible tragedy.
They seem depressed
Home care workers don’t just help with the day-to-day aspects of senior care — they also provide socialization and companionship. If you’ve already spoken to your loved one’s doctor about depression, and therapy and medication alone don’t seem to be the sole answer, consider professional home visits as part of the care plan.
They want to stay in their home
Perhaps one of the most salient factors in deciding if your senior parents need home care is if they want to stay in their home. Studies have shown that this is the option most seniors prefer. Sometimes, visits from a caring nurse or aide are the only way to prevent early institutionalization (i.e., taking up permanent residency in a nursing home). Oddly enough, home care is also usually cheaper than a nursing home – another important factor in deciding the right option for your loved one.
Consider whether or not your senior parents need home care
It’s not an easy thing to admit your senior parents need home care – to yourself or to them. But it’s an important conversation to have, especially if they show any of the above signs. By bringing up the topic kindly and gently, you increase the chances of complying with their wishes, and keeping them comfortably at home for a long time to come.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.