7 Signs an Elderly Parent May Need Some Care at Home

October 8, 2021

Sometimes the warning signs an elderly parent needs help are frighteningly obvious.

They might experience a serious fall or make a mistake with a medication that lands them in the emergency department.

But most times, the red flags are smaller and easier to overlook, at least initially. So, what should you look for on your next visit to an ageing parent's or relative's home?

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Here are a few signs that often indicate an older adult is struggling to remain independent.

Signs a Parent or Ageing Relative Needs More Help:

1.      Problems with balance

Ageing creates unique health challenges. Sometimes one of these is difficulty with balance. It could be due to dizziness, which can be a side effect of a medication. Or it could be the result of a chronic health condition, such as low blood pressure or diabetes.

Another possibility is a reduction in muscle strength, which may be able to be remedied with gentle exercise. Whatever the reason, it's a challenge that causes one-third of people aged 65 years and over to fall at least once a year, and up to one-fifth of them to experience multiple falls.

2.      Unintentional weight change

Another health issue some older people struggle with is poor nutrition. Preparing well-balanced meals takes more work and planning than relying on a diet consisting of convenience foods, such as frozen meals or canned items.

If your loved one doesn't like cooking for one person, or eating fast food, they may skip some meals altogether. This can add up to unintended weight gain or loss, each of which can negatively impact their lives.

3.  Decline in appearance

A less-than-tidy appearance or difficulties in maintaining personal hygiene can also signal something is wrong.

For various reasons, an older family member might not be keeping up with grooming and bathing.

Sometimes the fear of falling while in the bathroom, especially when home alone, can keep older people from showering.

4.  Becoming socially isolated

While we know that isolation can cause a decline in mental wellbeing, what's surprising is its association with other serious health risks. For older adults, isolation can increase the risk of medical conditions like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. There are even linkages to early mortality and symptoms of dementia.

5.  Neglecting home upkeep

Maintaining a home and backyard is hard work. From everyday house cleaning and routine maintenance to making repairs, the tasks required to keep a house in good condition can be daunting. They can be risky, too (e.g., climbing a ladder to change a light bulb or wash windows).

When you visit your loved ones, take an objective look around their home. Is laundry piled up? Does the home have an odour? Is the fridge filled with outdated foods? Untended tasks can signal a need for care and support.

6.  Change in mood

Another red flag is a change in an elderly parent or relative's personality. If an always-cheery senior has become easily tearful or quick to anger, there might be a problem.

They might be having a difficult time managing at home and feeling stressed and overwhelmed. A change in disposition can also be an early warning sign of Alzheimer's, or a possible sign of elder abuse.

7.  Mistakes with finances

Stacks of unopened mail or overdue notices for bills can indicate your loved one is having trouble managing their finances. This can be another sign a senior is having problems maintaining their independence.

Need Help?

Should you spot a few of these warning signs around a loved one's home, there are a variety of solutions to consider. One of them is home care. It can be a cost-effective option that allows older adults to remain independent at home longer.

Visit Home Care Package Costs to learn more about costs, applying for funding, and steps needed to get home care services in place.