While visiting your aging parents over the holidays, you might have noticed some warning signs that their physical or cognitive health may be declining to the point that it’s time to consider help at home. The home may not be kept as clean or organized as usual. They may be neglecting their personal hygiene. Perhaps there is more clutter, or piles of mail that have gone unopened. What should you do next? These 5 steps from the experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care are a good place to begin.
- Assess and document. If you’ve picked up on a red flag or two, there may be more that you’ll want to uncover to ensure you are seeing the full picture. Make note of any fall risks in the home, such as blocked walking paths, throw rugs, extension cords, poor lighting, lack of handrails on the stairs, etc. Look for signs of cognitive decline, such as problems with remembering the names of common objects or familiar people or misplacing items in unusual locations (such as putting the car keys in the refrigerator). Are medications being taken as prescribed? Is there plenty of fresh (not expired) food in the fridge and pantry?
- Talk with your parents. Share your concerns with your parents in a loving and nonjudgmental way. Be prepared for defensiveness on the part of your aging parents. It’s common for older adults to balk at the idea of help at home, and it may require more than one discussion before an agreement can be reached.
- Talk with the doctor. If a consensus can’t be reached and you’re concerned about the safety and wellbeing of your parents, call their doctor. Hearing recommendations from a trusted professional often carries more weight, and it may be that there is a medical reason for the changes you’re noticing. For instance, a review of medications being taken may reveal side effects that are causing problems. The doctor can rule out or address any health complications.
- Think through your role. Assess your own personal, family, and career obligations. Do you have the time and ability to assist your parents with continuing to live at home independently based on the concerns you’ve noticed? For instance, if driving has become hazardous, can you commit to providing transportation, running errands, shopping for them, etc.? Can you help with organizing mail and making sure the bills are paid? Are you able to arrange for modifications to the home to prevent falls?
- Fill in the gaps. Once you’ve determined how much assistance you can realistically provide, think through other resources to explore. See if other family members, friends, or neighbors are able to step in to help. A tag team of volunteers that your parents know well and feel comfortable with is a great way to prevent one person from shouldering the bulk of responsibility and facing potential burnout.
When your parents are ready to explore professional help at home, we have the perfect solution for you to consider: a referred care provider from American, Advocate, or Whitsyms In-Home Care. A referred care provider can be brought in on a trial basis at first, helping with just a task or two around the home that your parents would be willing to delegate, such as light housekeeping or preparing meals. Once they feel comfortable, additional services can be added.
Older adults and their families have been trusting American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care for more than three decades to provide the referred Florida home care professionals that make life safer and more comfortable through a broad range of in-home care services. To learn more, contact the office nearest you:
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661