How to know when your loved one needs extra care
During holiday celebrations this year, you might notice that your older family members are having trouble with activities and tasks they once took for granted. It can be hard to know where to turn for help, but the good news is that KinCare understands just how confusing and overwhelming it can be. You can call your KinCare Customer Support Manager to learn how KinCare provides personal, tailored support to help people continue living in their own homes for as long as they wish.
We all need extra help from time to time, but as we age, our needs increase. The safety, health and wellbeing of your loved one can be at risk if the signs that show they need help with daily living are overlooked. There are five signs that you can look out for to know whether its time to seek in-home support for your loved one.
Serious and ongoing medical conditions
- Is your loved one taking longer than usual to recover from an illness or injury such as the flu or a fracture?
- Do they feel frail when you hug them?
- Do they forget to take their regular medication?
- Do they seem depressed or anxious?
- Do they have trouble getting out and about due to a chronic condition such as arthritis? Or is a condition such as dementia getting worse?
- Do they find it painful to move?
Changes in social habits
- Is your loved one less social? Have they stopped meeting up with friends, going on outings or participating in their hobbies?
- Do they go days without leaving the house because they can no longer drive and feel afraid to catch public transport?
- Are you and other family members unable to check in on your loved one regularly to ensure they are safe and well?
- If there was a fire, flood, or other disaster, is there a plan for who would assist your loved one? Do they understand the plan?
Neglect around the home
- Is there limited food in the fridge because your loved one isn’t buying groceries? Is there expired or stale food in the cupboard?
- Are there piles of unopened mail and unpaid bills lying around the house?
- Are the pets fed and the plants watered?
- Is their home in need of a spring clean or a spruce up?
- Is their home not as clean and tidy as you are used to, or are you seeing clutter and grime in their home?
- Is their garden in need of maintenance and care?
Personal care habits
- Have you noticed a dramatic weight loss or increase?
- Is your loved one’s appearance disheveled, or are they suddenly unshaven?
- Does it seem as though they need help showering, grooming, dressing or doing their laundry?
- Has your loved one begun wearing clothes that aren’t appropriate for the weather? Does their hair and makeup look different?
Driving their car
- Is your loved one easily distracted while driving?
- Are there unexplained dents in their car?
- Do they forget to fasten their seatbelt or use their indicator when turning?
- Have they stopped servicing their car?
- When they drive, are they over-cautious, or do they feel anxious or uncertain?
These can be signs that your loved one’s ability to drive and maintain a car is growing impaired, which is dangerous for their safety and others on the road.
Three ways to assess whether your loved one needs extra care at home
If you’re worried about the wellbeing and safety of your loved one, take action to understand exactly what their needs are.
- Talk to them
Talking to your loved one to see how they are managing is the first step. Find a quiet time and place when you can sit together with a cup of tea and chat openly and honestly. Express your concerns in a gentle, non-judgmental, curious way. For example, you might want to ask “I noticed these unpaid bills here. Would you like me to help you pay them today? Was there any trouble with paying these that I can sort out for you?” rather than saying “You haven’t paid your bills again. I don’t think you’re coping on your own”. Show empathy by asking your loved one what they need help with and what their hopes are for their future.
- Observe them
If you feel that all is not right, pay extra attention when you next visit your loved one. See if there are any changes in their daily habits and take notes, so you have tangible examples to share with your KinCare Customer Care Manager. This will help them make well-informed recommendations for their care.
- Get an outside opinion
Make sure your loved one is visiting their GP regularly for check-ups. It’s a helpful way to pick up any medical issues early on. With appropriate permission, you may also have the chance to discuss your concerns with their doctor, who can give expert advice, arrange for an aged care assessment and suggest short-term ways to alleviate any problems while you arrange home care.
Prepare in advance for better outcomes and quality of life
To ensure your family member has the life they deserve, it’s helpful to get care in place early on. We can help you improve their quality of life by tailoring our services to best support them. Our connected care pathways are designed to be flexible to your loved one’s changing needs and circumstances, keeping them cared for appropriately at every stage.
It’s not easy to come to the realisation that someone you love is finding everyday life difficult to cope with – and it can be tough to talk about. But when it comes to the most important people in our lives, isn’t it a conversation worth having?
After all, you both deserve to enjoy life to the full and ease your worries with our caring, personal support.
Contact us to learn more about the difference that high quality, in-home care can make today.