When does a loved one need help and assistance to remain at home?

Help and assistance to remain at home

Elderly help and assistance to remain at homeFew of us would like to think of ourselves as being a burden to others. We want to look after ourselves and do it well. As we get older, however, this can become harder, but at what point do we decide that an elderly relative does need a little extra help? What telltale signs are there? As we age there is often a decline in our physical and mental health. This can be gradual or happen suddenly and sometimes there is a ‘belly feeling’ that something is wrong. What are the types of questions we can ask ourselves?

Neglecting personal care

Has your relative been neglecting their washing, either personal or their clothes? Do they smell of body odor or are they neglecting their dental care? Are they incontinent and do not change their clothes; how are they eating; are they eating enough? Perhaps they are concerned that they are possibly putting on weight and have started to restrict their diet. Are they no longer able to prepare meals for themselves and if require medication, do they take it regularly?

Mental health

Is your relative more forgetful? This is quite natural in older age, but does this feel more extreme. Do they forget the names of people, places or objects? Have they left the cooker on or doors open, leading to concerns over their safety? Do they present as sad, tearful or agitated; do they remember the past, but have little recall of the present; have they begun to wander? Dementia is a common illness in old age and it impacts on their ability to care for themselves. Massachusetts Dementia/Alzheimer’s care will be able to help assess any such problems.

Physical health

Are they becoming unsteady on their feet; are they falling or banging into furniture and are these events resulting in injuries, such as bruising or fractures? Are auditory or visual impairments making it difficult for them to care for themselves?

Other concerns

Is your relative having difficulties with their finances? This could be missing paying bills or paying them twice. They could be spending money on out of the ordinary things for them or even giving money away. Has their alcohol use increased; are they becoming more socially isolated? Did they previously go out with friends, but have begun to want to spend more time at home or alone?

Talking to your relative about how they are coping may create some distress for them, but it may also be a relief in that they may have been feeling overwhelmed. Getting extra help to enable to stay in their home is an option. This could involve carers from a homecare service visiting the house on a regular basis or a more intensive package involving live-in care services. This could range from home care aides to registered nurses. Services include monitoring and administration of medication, help with personal hygiene and tasks around the house, such as shopping and laundry, as well as the social interaction of having someone regularly visiting. Take your time deciding on which agency you employ; one important thing to consider is their locality. Ideally,  you should use an agency for your MA home health care needs, which is local and will know what resources are available in your area, in addition to what they can provide. To request a quote simply click here.