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Published on November 08, 2021

senior man confused about medications

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.

“Children of elderly parents want to help, and know their mom or dad needs it. But they also know their parents want to remain at home,” said Avera@Home Patient Care Coordinator Kala Cuka, BSN, RN.

Look for Small Signs

Signs that an older loved one needs help may be subtle.

“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,” Cuka 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 some additional insights that may indicate an older loved one needs help in specific areas.

Assistance with 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,” Cuka said.

She said that when a diabetic loved one stops using a glucose meter or other home medical equipment, that too could be a sign. Getting direction on how to help is important.

Help with 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,” said Cuka. “Individuals may feel unstable or worried about making a mess.”

Aides can come in to help prepare meals, clean up after suppers or whatever your loved one might need.

Aid for Bathing and Housework

If you have an older parent who is known for his or her carefully 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.

Home health care can serve those who face these challenges.

“We can provide those services as they are needed, cleaning up or assisting with bathing, too,” she said.

What You Might Notice When Help is Needed

Home-care professionals say that when your loved one stops going out to meet folks or seems less engaged, it could be a sign that help is needed.

“It could be as simple as some therapy to improve balance and mobility,” Cuka said. “They may just need some rails or a shower chair.”

Cuka added that the biggest thing is getting started – talk to them.

“Remember, you have resources that can help with the needs, no matter how big or how small,” she added.

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.

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