Admitting the need for help and accepting assistance are not easy for people as they age. The responsibility often falls on family members to recognize the signs that an aging loved one might need support with completing activities of daily living (ADLs).
Seniors have a strong desire to remain independent and in control of their own lives for as long as possible. Typically, an older adult will experience a traumatic event precipitating the realization that they need assistance. Because adult children are often unable to participate in making care decisions before a crisis takes place, the added emotional stress of a sudden hospitalization or fall further complicates this process. One way to avoid this is to start regularly monitoring your parents’ physical and mental abilities and researching long-term care options. This will ensure you are prepared should your parents begin to show signs of needing help.
There are many indicators of needing help including loss of memory, periods of confusion, decline in grooming habits, noticeable weight loss, extreme clutter, automobile dents and scratches, increased agitation, bruises or wounds that could indicate falling, etc.
If you believe your parents are experiencing one or more of the above indicators, ideally the next step is to talk with them about their care needs in such a way that they are able to participate in identifying the problem and coming up with solutions.
If these signs are present, it doesn’t necessarily mean a move to assisted living or a nursing home is required. However, these red flags do indicate that daily supportive care is needed. For many families, hiring help at home allows an elderly parent to stay in the comfort of their home as long as safely possible.