Signs your loved one needs extra care
During holiday celebrations this year, you may notice a family member in their older years is 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 KinCare understands just how confusing and overwhelming it can be. You can call KinCare for tailored advice to help support your family member to stay in their home for longer, allowing them to live the life they choose.
Signs it’s time to get extra support
We all need extra help from time-to-time, but as we age, our needs increase. Our safety, health – our very wellbeing – can be at risk if the signs we need help with daily living are overlooked.
Here are some of the signs to look out for, if you suspect your loved one now needs extra support in the home:
Serious and ongoing medical conditions
- Is your loved one taking longer than usual to recover from an illness or injury (for example, a flu or fracture). Do they seem frail when you hug them?
- Do they keep forgetting to take their regular medication?
- Do they seem depressed or anxious?
- Do they have trouble getting out and about due to a chronic condition (for example, arthritis), or is a condition such as dementia getting worse?
- Do they suffer pain when they move?
Changes in social habits
- Is your loved one less social? Have they stopped getting together with friends for lunch, going on outings and doing their hobbies?
- Do they go days without leaving the house because they can no longer drive and feel afraid to catch public transport?
- Is there no one who is able 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 the home in need of a spring clean or a spruce up? Is the home not as clean and tidy as you are used to?
- Is there clutter and grime in the home or is the garden in need of some love and attention?
Personal care habits
- Have you noticed a dramatic weight loss or increase, possibly indicating a loved one may be making poor food choices or is less active than usual?
- Does the person look a bit disheveled or seem like they need help showering, grooming or doing their laundry?
- Is there a change in your loved one’s appearance? Are they suddenly unshaven? Wearing clothes that do not match the weather? Does their hair and makeup look different? These can be signs of memory trouble or depression.
- 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?
These can all be signs that your loved one’s ability to drive and maintain a car are now impaired.
How do I assess if my loved one needs extra care?
If you have noticed any of these signs in your loved one, it might be time to:
- 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 about how things are going. Express your concerns in a gentle, non-judgmental way. Ask your loved one what they need help with and what their hopes are for their future.
- Observe them – If you have an inkling that all is not right, pay extra attention to observing and noting any changes in your loved one’s daily habits. So that we can help you improve their quality of life, it is vital you can note tangible examples. Things like ‘I’ve noticed you haven’t been paying your bills’ are more helpful than ‘It doesn’t look like you are coping at home’.
- Get an outside opinion – ensuring your loved one is receiving regular medical check-ups from their GP is one way to pick up any medical issues. 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 their problems while you arrange home care.
To ensure your family member has the life they deserve, it is helpful to get care in place early on.
It’s not easy to face that someone you love needs more support – 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?
Afterall, they – and you – deserve to enjoy life to the full and get some relief, without each day being overshadowed by worry.
Whether they need a little help, or a lot – let us show you the difference high quality in-home care can make today.