The Holidays May Highlight the Need for Home Care for Loved Ones

Young man talking with his grandmother during the Christmas dinner

"Mom, we'd all feel a lot better if we knew you had some help."

One of the great joys of the holidays is reconnecting with family who may live far away. But sometimes when adult children visit their elderly loved ones, they find that their parents are no longer as healthy as they remembered. Or they might see signs Mom and Dad aren’t living as safely as they should. If you’re visiting elderly loved ones this holiday, take a quick assessment to determine if outside help might be needed. Here’s some warning signs to look for:

  • A house in disarray
  • Little or spoiled food in the refrigerator
  • Weight loss
  • An increase in forgetfulness
  • Unpaid bills
  • Difficulty in moving freely throughout the house

If you notice any of the above, it may be time to consider providing your loved ones with some in-home care. Caregivers provide numerous invaluable services, including:

Companionship

Isolation is a risk factor for depression, and studies have even shown that it can increase your risk of early death. One of the greatest benefits of home care is often the most overlooked—the simple act of interacting with another human being. People who choose home care as a profession usually do so because they love being with people. Because of this, they treasure the moments of simply being able to get to know the person they’re caring for and connecting with them. Often, the relationships between caregiver and care receiver become one of the most important for both parties.

Personal Care

Many seniors have challenges with certain everyday activities, such as bathing, grooming and dressing. A home caregiver can help with these tasks, ensuring that the seniors can continue living as normally as possible. And feeling good about their appearance makes them more likely to socialize and continue their normal routines.

Safer Living

Falls are one of the greatest risk factors for seniors. A home caregiver can provide an assessment of the home and provide suggestions on how to create a home environment that reduces the risk for falls. Caregivers can also work with seniors to maintain a physician-approved exercise program, accompany them on walks and errands, and help ensure the home is clutter-free.

Better nutrition

A home caregiver can also assist with preparing meals, ensuring that your loved one is following generally accepted nutrition standards, as well as eating according to a doctor or nutritionist’s recommended diet.

Medication Management

The typical 75-year-old takes more than 10 prescription drugs. Managing that array can be very challenging! An in-home caregiver can provide medication reminders, and take your loved one to the pharmacy or pick up prescriptions.

Transportation

Knowing that elderly loved ones are still driving is often one of the main concerns of children who live far away. An in-home caregiver can take your senior loved one to medical appointments, grocery shopping and even to the theater or other social events.

Light housekeeping

Many chronic health conditions make it difficult for seniors to keep the house clean. A caregiver can vacuum, dust, sort mail, organize closets and help ensure the house is free of fall hazards.

If your loved one is resistant to the idea of having a “stranger” in the house, let them know that this will help enhance their independence and ability to concentrate on what they love to do, whether it’s going to bridge club, gardening or simply watching TV. And let them know that you’ll feel better knowing that they are living safely and comfortably.

Source: Assisting Hands Home Care in association with IlluminAge. Copyright © IlluminAge, 2015.