If you’re home for the holidays and notice your parents need more help than before, you’re not alone. Home care service agencies see a peak in demand often at the end of December and the beginning of January. This is because most children come back to their aging parents during holidays.
You may be unintentionally putting your loved one at risk by not taking the lead in getting the kind of help they need to stay independent and secure in their home as they age. Here are some clues that may show that your loved one needs a Home Health Aide.
The odor test
At the time of a reunion, along with a hug and kiss, breath in through your nose. The smell of your parents can be comforting – or cause for concern. If you notice unclean clothes or body odor scents that are too strong to be usual, this may be a signal that your parent is now having trouble bathing, maintaining clean hygiene, or staying level on chores maintenance such as detergents. Make a mental note of it before you get into the kitchen.
Open the fridge and check the odor to see if there is any spoiled food, which your parents might not be able to detect. The sense of smell decreases with age and declines significantly after 70 years. Many adults can no longer detect bad smells that would usually cause you to throw out spoilt cooked meals.
If your odor test tells you the environment is not healthy, it may not just be “normal” old age. The onset of dementia can also be the cause. A weakened sense of smell is a potential indicator of Alzheimer’s or other neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. If you feel there is a problem, take your mom or dad to the doctor to see if there is anything else going on.
Obvious security risks at home
Your childhood home may not have changed – but it may not be as well suited for older adults. As age advances, a person’s environment often requires simple upgrades to maintain appropriate safety standards. You can significantly reduce the risk of falls by removing bulky furniture, securing electrical connection wires so they don’t get tripped up, or even adding access bars in the bathroom.
A home health aide can bring much-appreciated peace of mind if your loved one is no longer paying attention to the risk of falling at home or if they have congestion issues that make it difficult for them to move around. Professional caregivers understand how to limit the danger of falling and can assist with activities that may provoke a fall, such as getting in and out of the tub.
Signs of loneliness or lack of socialization
In the United States, over 30% of seniors live alone. Although living alone does not necessarily imply that your loved one needs home care, it is something to consider if you observe signs of depression or social isolation. Your loved one may be able to overcome these challenges with the support of home help.
If your parent doesn’t want to sacrifice their independence but still needs assistance, home health care providers may be the best option.
Additional signs to look out for
Also, pay attention to the clutter. Stacks of envelopes still closed, broken appliances, wilted houseplants, can all be signals that your parent may need help.
Not being able to manage the activities of daily living may also be a symptom of cognitive impairment or may be a trigger for depression.
If you see just one of these warning signs, a good tip would be to try and plan a visit to the doctor and have family, friends, or caregivers come over to help out at home. Just knowing that your parent has helpers to interact with will ease your mind and benefit their lives.