Three Signs that Your Loved One May Need Help at Home
Independence is a natural trait for us – just ask any toddler’s mom. As we age, we never lose that desire to be free from constraints. For adults with aging parents or grandparents, it’s not always easy to know not only how to help – but when.
“We get referrals and phone calls from many places, including from the children of elderly parents who have questions – they want to help, and know their mom or dad needs it – but they know they don’t want to go anywhere,” said Avera@Home Case Manager Kala Cuka, RN, BSN. “They want to remain at home – and we can help them.”
The signs that an older loved one needs help may be subtle, but Cuka said working with Avera@Home can help educate everyone in the family dynamic.
“That’s a tremendous amount of what we do – explain and inform families about tools, services and equipment that might allow their older loved one to have a better quality of life,” she said. “We want to help find those solutions that improve that quality all while they stay where they are most comfortable – at home.”
Cuka offered these insights on signs that may indicate an older loved one need help:
Medications and Equipment: If you notice their pillbox or other medication containers are put away or seem untouched – that’s a warning sign. “It can indicate they have forgotten or need a little help keeping those scheduled medication times squared away, and it’s something we often do – we can have someone come and make sure they are keeping up on them and understand how and when to take them,” Cuka said. “If your loved one has diabetes and you notice they are not using their glucose meter, that could be another indicator of their needing help.”
Eating and Cooking: If it’s too hard to get into the kitchen and make supper, older folks may stop having regular meals. If there’s plenty of food in the fridge but no dishes in the sink or dishwasher, it could indicate the need for assistance. “Home health help for meals and cooking is really common – sometimes a few visits or some specific home medical equipment in the kitchen can make a huge difference,” said Cuka. “Individuals may feel unstable or worried about making a mess – that happens and when it does, there are options to improve it.”
Bathing and Housework: If you have an older parent who is known for his or her fastidiously clean home and now there’s a lot of clutter, it could be a sign that keeping up with housework is harder for them. The same goes for showers and baths – if there are no signs that part of the bathroom is getting used, it might indicate a lack of balance or fear of falls, said Cuka.
“If you have a loved one who used to be engaged and go out and meet with folks, and they stop doing that sort of thing, it could be a sign,” she said. “It could be as simple as getting them some therapy to improve balance and mobility. For bathing, they may need some rails or a shower chair – the biggest thing is starting that conversation and remembering there are resources that can fit the needs, no matter how big or how small.”
You can get the process of getting that help to those you love – just visit Avera@Home online to get in touch with care professionals close to you and your family. You also can take an assessment or find phone numbers online.