It May Be Time For A Home Care Company

 

Red flags are something we often associate with racing and bad dates. However, they can be vital indicators when it comes to someone's health. As we get older we start to face different challenges and sometimes it may be a good idea to get some extra help. This list of financial, personal health, and mental health red flags can be used the next time you see your aging loved ones and determine whether or not your loved one needs a home care company. 

Financial Red Flags

  • Unpaid or late bills

An occasionally missed bill or two is to be expected however, lots of unpaid or late bills could be a sign of a bigger issue. Memory loss diseases often start out with smaller symptoms, such as forgetting bills and can progress to more serious instances, such as forgetting to eat or children’s names. A home care agency can assist in making sure your loved one remembers to pay their bills. This can include aiding in making a payment calendar ( putting due dates in an easily observable area) and reminding your loved ones when due dates are coming up for their bills. In most cases, a caregiver or nurse will not directly handle the money of your loved one but can be an aid in the process. 

Personal Health Red Flags

  • Constantly missing appointments

Similar to unpaid or late bills a missed appointment or two is normal. However, if your loved one is constantly missing appointments, especially important ones, it may be time to talk to their doctor about your concerns. Continually missing appointments could be a sign of underlying memory issues such as dementia or Alzheimer's. A home care agency could assist your loved ones to remember these appointments and can even drive them to said appointments. Caregivers are able to help your loved ones get their appointments together by putting their appointments on an easy to read calendar or planner. Furthermore, since all of our caregivers have valid driver’s license and auto insurance they are able to take your loved ones to and from their appointments, making sure they never miss another one. 

  • Extreme weight loss

Extreme weight loss can be a symptom of a variety of diseases and conditions elderly loved ones are prone to. It is vital to find out the reason behind it and discuss it with a medical professional. The weight loss could be linked to memory issues, such as your loved one simply forgetting to eat or unable to follow instructions on a recipe. It could also be linked to mental health issues such a depression which can lead to individuals intentionally skipping meals and other serious problems. Caregivers from home care companies are trained to make sure your loved one is eating and will report changes in eating habits to administrative staff. This can include using techniques such as re-engaging, distracting, and providing different offers. 

  • Clutter and dust in a once always clean home

A cluttered and dusty home can be a result of either an inability to clean or an inability to remember to clean. As your loved one ages it may become more difficult for them to clean their home sometimes this is due to the size of the home, the complexity of the tasks, or the increasing effort it takes. In-home caregivers are able to assist with these tasks and do a majority of light housekeeping tasks. These include but are not limited to tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, doing dishes, doing laundry, mopping, sweeping, and more. If your loved one still wants to feel more independent than caregivers can also aid them in these tasks, such as the caregiver washing the dishes but your loved one drying them. 

  • Loss of grooming and bathing ability

Are you noticing a once neatly groomed loved one is now looking scruffy? Or maybe they are showing signs of not bathing or showering. This could be due to a variety of reasons such as losing flexibility, tremors related to Parkinson's, or memory loss of when they last bathed or groomed themselves. Personal cleanliness is an important part of your loved ones' physical and mental health. If they are having difficulty with such tasks it may be time to have a caregiver aid them. Caregivers are able to assist in both bathing aspects and grooming, furthermore, home care companies are flexible on the level of assistance needed from just standing by to monitor for falls all the way up to complete bathing and grooming the client themselves. 

Mental Health Red Flags

  • Unexplained short-term memory loss

If your loved one starts being unable to remember events that happened just minutes or hours ago it could be a symptom of dementia. This is especially important to note if this change happens to someone who used to have a very good memory. Typically those who display short-term memory loss have difficulty remembering to do important activities of their daily living such as forgetting if they ate or not, when they showered last, if they took their medication or not, etc. Not only these but short term memory loss could be a hazard to their health in situations such as your loved one forgetting to turn appliances off (fire hazards), forgetting a hot appliance is on (touching it and burning themselves, and other hazards to their health. Caregivers are able to assist your loved ones with their activities of daily living and remind them to take their medications. They are also trained to monitor your loved one’s home for hazards and make adjustments or recommendations to the family.

  • Getting Lost going to places they could find before

This goes in hand with some of the previous red flags. An inability to remember the location or directions to a place such as a favorite restaurant, the corner store, or a loved one's house could be another sign of memory loss issues. It is ok for this to happen occasionally or due to poor weather but should not be common during clear conditions and happening often. Furthermore, if your loved one has an inability to follow directions it may be a sign of memory issues as well. Those with memory issues are often easily confused by directions or recipes due to all of the consecutive steps. This confusion compounded with forgetting different steps due to memory loss can make it very difficult for your loved one to drive. Again this is where a home care company can step in and provide easy transportation for your loved one. Whether that is taking them to a loved one’s at the end of a shift, to the grocery store, or other important appointments. 

  • Mood swings, one-minute laughing/happy and the next minute crying/depressed

Mood swings are a warning sign for a variety of issues aging adults can face, such as Parkinson's or dementia. Furthermore, if they experienced these in their younger years and are on medications it could be a sign that they are forgetting to take them. In-home caregivers are trained in a variety of redirection techniques in order to calm your loved one down or help boost them up if they are starting to feel down. In-home caregivers can also do medication reminders if your loved one is forgetting to take their mental health medications. 

  • Not wanting to go out with friends or family

Not wanting to go out with family or spend time with friends could be a sign of deteriorating mental or physical health. Those who suffer from mental health issues tend to isolate themselves when experiencing a mental health episode. This is also common for those with sundowners syndrome, which is linked to Alzheimer's and dementia. As far as physical health issues, your loved one may not want to go out with friends or family due to having difficulty getting around or keeping up. It may feel like a hassle for them to get around to do such activities or feel like a burden to others due to their limitations. An in-home caregiver can do more than just clean and remind a loved one to take their medications, they are also there to be companions. Some caregivers even have special training to aid those with mental health issues. They can use these skills to help redirect your loved one’s train of thought and encourage them to spend time with friends or family. Furthermore, they can aid them physically in getting around for such events.

Making the choice to get an in-home care company or not can be a difficult process, especially for your loved one. It may be difficult for them to get used to the idea of a caregiver coming in to help them and they may feel like they are losing their independence. However, if your loved one is experiencing these red flags it is time for you to contact a home care company and have a discussion with them. Home care companies are build to help aging loved ones and have a variety of tool kits to help your loved one live as independently as they can for as long as they can. 

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