Is It Time to Start Considering Senior Home Health Care?

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posted by Suzie Schmitt on August 31, 2020

senior home health care

Deciding if a loved one needs private home care is not an easy choice. However, there are many benefits to choosing this type of care. It can be beneficial for senior adults and their family members.

As we age, changes begin to occur. Senior adults may have difficulty with daily tasks or become forgetful. These changes can be painful for everyone involved, but it’s important to remember they are a natural part of the aging process.

It’s normal to feel like you should be able to provide the care they need. After all, they cared for you as a child. However, responsibility also means admitting when you or a loved one need help. It’s also important to understand that seeking senior home health care is often the responsible and loving thing to do for your family member.

Here are 14 signs it’s time to consider St Louis home care:

1. Missing Important Appointments

Missing important appointments can signify memory loss. It can also indicate that your parent is having difficulty caring for themselves. They may not be able to drive or get themselves properly dressed or groomed. Often, seniors will avoid appointments instead of admitting they need help. It can make them feel like they are losing their independence.

2. Mobility Issues

If your loved one is experiencing mobility issues, private home care is important. It will greatly reduce the risk of falling. Falling is the most common cause of injury in elderly adults. Approximately 30-50% of falls result in minor injuries, and 10% result in serious injury. About half of seniors don’t inform their health care provider when they experience a fall.

In addition to the risk of falling itself, the fear of falling can take a toll on seniors. They may avoid self-care activities or exercise out of a fear of falling. Senior home health care can provide the help they need to perform these activities safely and maintain their independence.

Signs that your loved one is experiencing mobility issues include:

  • expressing fear of falling
  • avoiding activities
  • difficulty standing
  • loss of balance
  • muscle weakness
  • joint pain or stiffness

3. Unexplained Minor Injuries

If you begin to notice unexplained scratches or bruising, this can indicate that your loved one is struggling to complete daily activities safely. They may be reluctant to admit they need help, so it’s important to notice this type of injury. Senior home health care can provide them the assistance they need with daily activities and treat minor injuries.

4. Deteriorating Grooming or Living Environment

If you notice your loved one’s home isn’t being kept to their normal standard of cleanliness, it may be time to bring in someone to help. As seniors age, they may not be physically able to perform needed household tasks.

If they are not showering or grooming properly, they are likely having physical difficulties as well. Private home care aides can provide help with grooming tasks. This can help your senior to maintain their dignity and their health.

5. Loneliness

Loneliness is often overlooked when deciding whether your aging adult needs in-home care. However, loneliness can harm your loved one's physical and mental health. These include high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and cognitive decline. Companionship is one of the most important services provided by St Louis home care.

Signs of loneliness in seniors include:

  • changes in the frequency of phone calls
  • loss of close friends or family
  • increased shopping
  • excessively long baths or showers
  • withdrawing from social interaction
  • changes in sleep or appetite
  • frequently speaking about the loneliness of peers

6. Boredom

This sign is often overlooked as well. While it isn’t as pressing as issues that pose an immediate health risk, it’s still important. Research has shown that activities that stimulate the brain may help slow cognitive decline and improve health.

Private home care provides an activity partner that will stimulate your loved one's mind. They may play board or card games together, learn new things, or discuss interesting subjects. These activities are an important part of your senior adult's health and well being.

7. Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness or memory loss is a concern with aging adults. If your loved one forgets to turn the stove off or doesn’t remember that they already took their medication, these pose a risk to their health and safety. Senior home health care can provide the supervision they need to stay safe when they become forgetful.

There are different types of memory, and these types can be affected differently by the aging process.
Preserved memory functions include:

  • Remote memory: ability to remember things that happened in the past
  • Procedural memory: how to perform tasks
  • Semantic memory: general knowledge

Learning is also a function of memory. Instead of recalling previously learned information, learning is the process of storing new information for later retrieval. This includes the ability to learn new facts and processes and recall them later.

Normal aging often brings changes in the ability to recall words and phrases. They may take longer to form sentences or not be able to remember the word they want to use. This is particularly common with names. New tasks become more difficult to learn, and problem-solving might become a little slower.

Mild cognitive impairment occurs when the symptoms are more severe than those of normal aging but not as severe as those seen with dementia or Alzheimer's.
The symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment include:

  • frequent forgetfulness
  • forgetting important tasks or appointments
  • difficulty following or remembering conversations
  • difficulty completing tasks or making decisions
  • difficulty finding your way in a familiar environment

The symptoms of mild cognitive impairment can make living independently a challenge. Senior home health care can assist with the issues related to forgetfulness, creating a safer more stable environment for your loved one.

8. Medical Issues

If your loved one has medical issues that require treatment, senior home health care is often preferable to hospital or nursing home care. If your loved one needs wound care, durable medical equipment setup, and monitoring, or other nursing services, these can be provided at home with St Louis home care.

If your loved one has just been diagnosed with a new disease or an on-going condition has worsened, this is a good time to consider senior home health care. It can be very helpful for post-operative care and fractures as well.

9. Medication Management

Some seniors simply need someone to remind them to take their medication and ensure that it’s accessible for them. Other seniors need help with medication administration. If your loved one is becoming forgetful or has a difficult time physically administering their medication, private care services might be the answer.

Correct medication administration is important to their health, and this becomes more difficult for them to manage on their own as they age. Private home care services include medication assistance, so your loved one gets the correct medication at the correct time.

10. Behavioral or Mood Changes

Behavioral and mood changes can be beginning warning signs of several conditions, including depression and Alzheimer's. St Louis home care can provide companionship but also monitor your loved one’s condition.

This can be particularly important if your loved one lives alone. Changes can be noticed before they become drastic or put their health in danger. Private home care can also help your loved one cope with these feelings in a healthy manner by providing a listening ear or activities.

11. Driving Difficulties

It’s often difficult for seniors to admit that they can no longer safely operate their vehicles. If your loved one has experienced an accident or you notice minor dents or scratches on their car, they may need help with transportation. St Louis home care can provide the transportation your loved one needs.

An annual eye exam is also a good starting point. As seniors age, their eyesight deteriorates. If the optometrist believes they can’t see well enough to drive, this should be taken into consideration. It’s also important to note that some eye conditions will make driving at night unsafe, but daytime vision isn’t compromised.

90% of seniors in a recent survey said that inability to drive would pose problems in their life. The issue has practical and emotional implications. They may feel a loss of independence and wonder how they will get where they need to go.

Age-related issues that might make driving unsafe for your loved one include:

  • cognitive decline or dementia
  • loss of coordination or muscle weakness
  • slowed reaction time
  • becoming easily distracted
  • medications that impair alertness
  • decline of eyesight or hearing

Private home care can ease these concerns for you and your loved one. They may feel embarrassed or burdensome to frequently ask you to drive them, and avoid going out because of this. Senior home health care can give them the freedom to go where they desire.

12. Wandering or Disorientation

If your loved one becomes easily disoriented, lost, or begins to wander outside the home, private home care is essential for their safety. They will need supervision to ensure their safety. It will also provide peace of mind for you, knowing that they are safe while you are away.

13. Nutrition

Nutrition is an important part of health at any age, but it can be a struggle for seniors. They may have difficulty preparing healthy meals or need help making healthy food choices. Signs your senior may need help with nutrition include:

  • weight loss or gain
  • loss of appetite
  • depression
  • expired food
  • improper food storage
  • physically or cognitively unable to prepare food
  • bare refrigerator or pantry
  • dull skin tone

Some diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, require a specific diet. This can be especially challenging for seniors. Senior home health care can provide help with grocery shopping, meal preparation and planning, and safe food storage.

14. You Feel Overwhelmed or Unable to Meet Their Needs

This is often the most difficult aspect of considering private home care. Particularly if your loved one is your parent or spouse, you feel an obligation to take care of them. Realizing you are no longer able to provide the care they need yourself can bring feelings of guilt or failure.

The best thing you can do for your loved one is to be honest, and realize that needing help is not a failure. If you are constantly overwhelmed, you are not at your best. If you are not at your best, you are unable to provide them with the love and attention they need most.

Private in-home care can relieve this burden and allow you to enjoy the time you spend with your loved one, instead of trying to catch up on all the things that need to be done. If you find yourself unable to spend quality time with your loved one because of pressing issues like housework, meal prep, and grooming, it’s time to consider St Louis home care.

Your loved one will be happier with the companionship provided by the caregiver, and you will feel better knowing that their needs are met. It frees up time to do things you both enjoy. Seniors are a treasure and time with them is invaluable.

Determining the Services Your Aging Senior Needs

If you begin noticing these signs that your loved one needs senior home health care, the next question is what type of care or services they need. It can feel overwhelming trying to determine which services can provide the best care for them.

When you choose St. Louis home care with Seniors Home Care, we will discuss the needs of your loved one and help you select the types of care that are the best fit. Whether your senior simply needs help with transportation and companionship or requires 24/7 care and monitoring, we can help them live with the dignity they deserve.

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