Queen City Care suggests there are a number of things that could indicate that your aging parent or loved one may need additional care or assistance and you can assess their needs either by personal observation or, if you don’t live close by, gently probing them for information.

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Assessing The Need – What to Look For:

    • Are they staying in their pajamas all day?
    • Is their hair combed?
    • Is he no longer clean-shaven?
    • Do their teeth appear clean?
    • Are their clothes clean?
    • Have they had a shower lately?
    • Is the house orderly and clean or does it have unpleasant orders?
    • Is the food in the refrigerator spoiled?
    • Is the food in the pantry expired?
    • Is there an unusual amount of mail, garbage, clutter, dust or dirt?
    • Have they missed any bill payments?
    • Have they bounced any checks lately?
    • Do they call you by the correct name?
    • Are they up on the news?
    • Are there any new dents in their car?
    • Have they had any speeding or parking tickets?

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  • Have they stopped participating in activities outside the home?
  • Do they repeat the same story multiple times?
  • Do they forget what they were saying?
  • Have they fallen recently or do they have any unexplained injuries?
  • Have they had a loss in bowel and/or bladder control?
  • Have they had any change in behavior?
  • Have they gotten lost driving to a familiar destination?

What to Ask:

  • “What did you eat for breakfast?” If your parent or loved one cannot remember what they ate that morning, forgot to eat, or the meal sounded like it lacked nutritional value, they may need a caregiver to help with meal preparation.
  • “Did you go to the hair salon/barber shop to get your hair cut?” or “Did you use that new shampoo I bought you?”  This can help you determine whether or not your parent is remembering to take care of their hygiene.  Sometimes a fall getting in or out of the bath tub will make them fearful of any further attempts to take a shower.  A lack of personal hygiene is often an early sign that they may need a caregiver to help with these tasks.
  • “Did you give any thought to the conversation we had last night about…..?  If they can’t remember a recent conversation you had or are repeating stories, your parent or loved one may also be having difficulty when communicating with strangers, such as the telephone repair man, the bank teller, etc.
  • “Did you get the oil changed in your car?”  If they are not keeping up with the maintenance on their car, this may be an indication that your parent or loved one may need a caregiver to start running errands and personally driving them to their appointments.
  • “Did you make it to your weekly outing with the girls last week?”  An early sign of depression is withdrawal from social activities.  A caregiver may provide the comfort your loved one needs or encouragement to engage in activities outside the home.

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If you sense a problem based on any of these indicators, you and other family members should consider using an in-home caregiver.  In many cases, in-home care services offer a valuable solution, enabling your loved one to remain in the privacy and comfort of their own home, rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living community.