Recognising Signs of Needing Care

We all know that getting older and entering into senior years means that you might need to slow down a little, and while that is never a pleasant thought, it is often necessary in order to temper the slowness that might set in to your joints, movements, and other physical aspects.

This will eventually happen to us all, but it doesn’t mean that slowing down a little need alter your life completely. In fact, it is important that older people remain as active and independent as possible, not only for the physical exercise to keep healthy, but also for the mental stimulation. Unfortunately, this independence can also mean that when the time comes to ask for help, elderly people will often refuse to do so. It can be frustrating for them to feel like they can no longer look after themselves, and they can even become embarrassed to admit they might need a little help.

At Home Instead Birmingham, we know that just because things slow down a little and some help is needed, doesn’t mean that all independence needs to be lost. At the core of what we do is ensuring older people can remain in their own homes for as long as possible, and provide them with the support they need to carry on with living their life. However, the responsibility of recognising the need for this extra support often falls to family members, as the individual concerned will often never admit as such.

But how do you know if your elderly parents need any support?

• Are your parents able to keep on top of hygiene and appearance? When you see your parents, be sure to note their appearance. If they are unable to regularly perform daily routines such as washing, brushing their teeth, or dressing properly, then this might be a sign that they are having problems, possibly both physical and mental.

• Can your parents still take care of their home? If you notice your parents home looking a bit unloved, such as the garden becoming overgrown, or laundry piling up, with no signs of vacuuming or dusting, then there might be a problem. If the way your parents do things around the house changes, then this could be a clue to the support they need.

• Are your parents driving safely? As eyesight and reaction times loose efficiency in old age, driving can be dangerous for elderly people. If you feel your parents might be confused, or you are at all concerned about their safety while driving, then you might try to suggest they stop.

• Have you noticed your parents have lost weight? If either of your parents have lost a significant amount of weight without trying, then it could be a sign that something is wrong. Losing weight could be a sign of many things, such as problems in preparing and cooking food, loss of taste, or other underlying medical conditions.

• Do your parents still socialise? You should ask your parents about their activities. Do they still see friends? Do their hobbies still interest them? Do they go on any day trips or attend social events? If you find that a parent has lost all interest in being around other people, then it could be a sign of depression or another problem that could benefit from support.

It is not pleasant to consider any of these things in relation to your parents, and it can be hard to see them losing a part of themselves to old age. However, if you are concerned about their health and wellbeing, then it is important that you address your concerns as soon as possible. If you talk to your parents about what they are having difficulty with and what support they might need, then you can arrange for appropriate care at early stage, which will help prevent any further decline in mental or physical health. With just a small nudge of support, you will often find that elderly people can have a new lease of life.

If you are concerned about your parents or other elderly family members, please contact us on 01214 565559 for advice and suggestions on care at home.

A group of Home Instead CAREGivers talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home