The warning signs your parents need a helping hand
HOME Care and Community Care Services can help improve their lives and ease the stress and worry on family.
It's not easy for us to know or admit when an ageing parent might need a bit of a helping hand. The thought of them entering the next phase of their lives can be confronting and something we don't really want to think about. And if it's hard for us, it's likely to be difficult for your independent parents to admit they might need some help, let alone ask for it.
Often times ignoring it or putting it off can result in needing help coming suddenly. A fall, a stroke, an illness. Not being prepared can throw your life, and theirs into chaos. However, by knowing what to look for, having a plan and understanding that you don't have to do it alone, entering this phase can be a nothing more than a subtle transition. In fact, as many discover, it can be a life enhancer for them (and a stress reliever for you).
KNOWING WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Changes in physical function and motor skills
Difficulty walking and getting around? Unsteady or unbalanced? Difficulty sitting down or getting up from a seat? Dizziness? More effort doing simple things (like opening a window)?
Unshaven, messy hair, unbrushed teeth, fingernails? Showering less? Strong body odour? The smell of urine (or incontinence)?
Has your parent lost weight or gained weight ? Wearing the same clothes day after day?
Have you noticed any injuries or bruises on your parent? Are injuries or chronic pain slowing them down (back agony, painful knees, etc)?
Household and garden maintenance
Are your parents finding it difficult to maintain the upkeep of the house or garden? Is there unopened mail? Unpaid bills? Unfilled prescriptions? How is the fridge and cupboards (are they running low on food, or is there out of date or mouldy food around)? Is washing and dishes starting to pile up? Is there garbage or clutter in the house or yard? Is the garden overgrown?
Changes in mood and personality
Mood swings? Irritability? Argumentative? Swearing and cursing from someone who never uttered a rude word? Rapid changes in behaviour? Is a usually talkative parent becoming withdrawn and reserved?
Confusion or forgetfulness
Have they been missing appointments? Forgetting day to day things? Forgetting to take medication? Having memory lapses? Losing or misplacing items? Having trouble recalling the names of family or friends? Have they been getting lost while walking or driving? Having trouble keeping track of time? Using poor judgment or not using their reasoning effectively? Losing themselves half way through sentences or repeating themselves? Difficulty performing day to day tasks?
Withdrawal, loss of motivation, depression
Are they lacking drive and initiative? Increased sleeping patterns? Have they stopped going out or doing the things they used to love? Stopped seeing friends? Are they failing to return your phone calls and messages?
What to do if you start noticing some of the signs that your parents might need some help
Have a conversation with your parents about their wants, desires and needs. The preferred option for many is in-home care. They get to stay in their same warm, familiar, comfortable home. Surrounded by the things they love instead of hospital or a nursing home. In-home care can take care of just about everything. From gardening and housekeeping to personal care and clinical nursing. Even complex care cases can be accommodated. With a bit of help taking care of day to day activities, they often start regaining their independence, feeling inspired to take up new hobbies, spend more time with family and friends and have an improved wellbeing.
In-Home Care can help your parents feel supported to stay at home, call Sue Mann Nursing and Community Care on 1300241300 and start a conversation.