Planning for Care
5 Signs
By Hilary Young

Aging is easy until it isn’t; for those of us who are determined to remain in our own home as we age, there are unique challenges that can come with that choice. Most people would agree that remaining independent is of utmost importance, but when it begins to affect your loved one’s safety or wellbeing, a change must be made. 

We believe that the best solution when your parent or loved one has chosen to age in place, is to hire an in-home caregiver to ensure their health and wellness. But it’s not always easy to know when it’s the right time to invest in care at home. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear from new clients is whether or not we really think their loved one might need care at home. Here are a few signs that it might be time to make the investment in a caregiver for your aging parent.

5 Signs That It’s Time For Extra Care At Home

Sometimes there are obvious changes that require in home health care, such as a diagnosis of a chronic illness, or recovery after a hospital stay. More often than not, signs of age-related issues start out small, causing them to be overlooked or written off as “normal” signs of aging. But there is a clear line between “normal” aging issues and warning signs of deeper issues.

Here are five early warning signs that it’s time to bring in extra care at home for your loved one:

  1. The House Is Not Well-Kept. Some people are naturally more tidy than others, but when the typical standard of cleanliness for your loved one starts to drop, that’s a sure-fire sign that something else is going on at home. Whether due to depression, decreased mobility, or increased memory loss, a messier-than-usual home can be a sign of something deeper.
  2. The Refrigerator Has Mostly Expired Foods. It’s normal to have maybe one or two items in the fridge that have recently expired. When the majority of foods are no longer edible, it is a definite warning sign. Although it can be a sign of declining cognitive function, a fridge full of expired foods also tells you that your parent is not preparing meals at home and could possibly become malnourished as a result.
  3. Personal Hygiene Has Lapsed. Bathing is something that can get more difficult with age. If mom or dad have mobility issues it makes getting in or out of a shower or tub a real challenge. A lack of personal hygiene can also be a sign of depression or cognitive decline, and it is definitely a warning sign that something deeper is going on with them that needs attention.
  4. Medication Mismanagement. Thousands of seniors are treated in the ER each year due to complications from medication mismanagement. Studies have shown that 30 percent of hospitalizations among older adults are drug related, with upwards of 11 percent of that attributed to nonadherence or mismanagement. Medication mismanagement happens for a variety of reasons, including cognitive decline, confusion about which medications to take when, and depression. The study found, however, that older adults who live alone are more likely to make mistakes when it comes to their meds.
  5. They Have Been Experiencing Falls. Accidents happen, but experiencing multiple falls within a year is a sign that your parent needs extra help. Falls can happen for a variety of reasons: loss of balance, a side effect of medication, or a symptom of chronic illness. Falls can be dangerous with age, leading to broken bones, stitches, and painful bruises.

All of these warning signs can be easy to hide over the phone or during video calls. If you don’t live close enough to your parent to check in on them in person, there are still ways that you can support them from afar. Enlist a neighbor or family friend to check in on them and report back to you. We do, however, recommend that you eventually size up the situation yourself in order to make the right decision for your parent.

My Parent Needs Help, What Happens Next?

Once you’ve identified that mom or dad does need help, the next step is providing them with some extra care at home. In home health care offers the best of both worlds--your loved one will have access to quality care in the comfort of their own homes. An in-home caregiver will help your parent with activities of daily living, such as bathing, cleaning, and cooking. Having care at home can also provide your loved one with companionship, and offer you peace of mind knowing that they are safe at home.

Finding a caregiver--the right caregiver--can be an overwhelming process. Where do you begin?

Tandem has everything you need. Our experienced Care Team will work with you to create a plan for receiving care at home that is created specifically for your loved one and customized for their needs. All of our caregivers are carefully screened and interviewed before joining the Tandem network. We take great pride in not only placing caregivers, but also in finding the perfect match for every client who works with us.