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Signs to help identify that extra support is required

Professional home care providers can help meet the need for care. They do this by offering services such as companionship, attending to medical needs, administration of medication, helping with important chores around the home, personal care or accompanying an older adult to an appointment. When a family caregiver can’t fulfil their role fully for reasons such as travel distance, business or family commitments alternative measures are sort to ensure there is adequate care at home for their loved one.

Learning how to recognise when an elderly parent needs care at home will help to know when to approach them to discuss options available to them. The need can suddenly happen requiring immediate action such as post-surgery care. Or, it can be more gradual events leading to the need for care at home. These signs should be identified before a decision is made.

Typical signs that care at home support is needed

  • Sudden lose of weight or fluctuating weight changes
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts or burns
  • Noticeably poor hygiene
  • Unkept living environment
  • Garden overgrown/neglected
  • Accumulation of clutter
  • Nasty odours – urine or garbage not being disposed of in outside bins
  • Low food stores
  • Unpaid utility bills
  • Mood changes
  • Depression, cognitive impairment
  • Unmotivated to socialise and to be active

Agreeing to home care services

Many ageing adults express a desire to continue living independently in their own homes for as low as possible. A home care provider can help to ensure that their wish is met. But, the idea of a stranger coming into their home at regular intervals can be quite daunting. Having an action plan in place to reassure them that only care workers from a professional, Care Quality Commission accredited company will take on the services needed.

When having the conversation with an elderly adult about the need for home care support, it is important to approach the subject with respect and empathy.  Research local home care providers so that you are aware of the services offered and read reviews or testimonials from previous service users. Here are suggested ways in which you should approach your discussion with an elderly loved one for the best outcomes and a quick resolution to finding the care they need:

  1. Ageing adults may start to feel that their independence is hanging in the balance. A feeling that they are starting to lose control can be very unsettling and may bring on mood changes and resentment. They may also resist any discussions about needing support. So, be sympathetic to their situation approaching all conversations with empathy.
  2. Choose the time to have the conversation with great care and consideration for privacy and limited distractions.
  3. Keep calm throughout the discussion. Raised voices or a threatening tone can heighten stubborn, resentful behaviour. Speak to them with a genuine desire to help them be able to live as independent a life as possible in the comfort of their own home. Being patronising will only reduce your chance on resolving the issue of care.
  4. Be open minded and listen with all ears! Try not to cut them off mid-sentence or talk at them. Summarising what they have said will confirm you have fully understood their needs, hopes, desires and concerns. Get clarification if you are unsure of anything they expressed – don’t guess.

For an elderly adult, acknowledging that they need help because they can no longer cope with certain daily activities will be difficult. Following your conversations with them it is important to give them time to think and process how their situation is changing. Once they themselves admit to needing assistance it will be easier convincing them to meet with a home care services provider who will work with them to design a care plan appropriate to catering to their exact needs.

The following articles offer further help to support an older adult living at home:

Tips to help elderly people avoid being scammed

What services for elderly living at home are available?

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