Making the decision to place an elderly parent or other loved one in the hands of a professional caregiver can be difficult. An adult child doesn’t want to place undue stress upon their aging parent or make the wrong decision, so that is why it is important to know when to act.
Below are six indicators that an aging parent or other loved one may need live-in care.
1. Inability to Make Sound Decisions
One sign that an elderly parent may need the assistance of a professional caregiver is when the ability to make sound decisions is compromised. Such decisions include those that are routinely and ordinarily handled without much deliberation.
For example, these types of decisions may include mundane matters such as deciding when to take a bath. However, they may also include more critical judgment calls about throwing out spoiled food in the refrigerator or opening the door to strangers.
If your elderly parent is no longer able to confidently decide on appropriate courses of action, then it may be a sign he or she needs live-in care to provide moment-by-moment guidance.
2. Daily Fear and Anxiety
Another indicator that an aging parent may need additional assistance is when anxiety and fear begin to interfere with daily living. Such anxiety and fear may be worse at certain times, such as in the evening hours or at night.
If anxiety becomes too great, then it can lead to dangerous behaviors such as wandering or cause harmful physiological responses. A live-in caregiver can help alleviate anxiety by bringing immediate assurance as well as by merely being there whenever an aging parent drifts off to sleep at night.
3. Forgetfulness in Potentially Dangerous Situations
Forgetfulness that can lead to injury or property damage is another sign that an aging parent needs professional care on an around-the-clock basis. For example, if your parent leaves the stove burner on after cooking, goes to sleep with the front door wide open, or engages in other erratic behavior due to forgetfulness, then they probably should not be allowed to remain by his or herself.
Instead, a caregiver should be enlisted to prevent the consequences of forgetfulness from causing harm to a loved one. This can allow an elderly parent to continue to pursue interests such as cooking while providing an important safety net to prevent them from being hurt.
4. Propensity for Slips and Falls Around the Home
If you have an aging parent or loved one who suffers from frequent slips and falls, then you should consider obtaining live-in professional care. Slips and falls are a leading cause of serious injury and death, and many such fatal accidents occur in the home.
Professional care is likely needed if repeated accidents become the norm. For example, if your elderly loved one regularly falls while getting in and out of the bath, there may be a need for constant care.
5. Serious Mobility Problems
A related, but still separate, issue concerning slips and falls is if your loved one suffers from a severe mobility problem. If your aging parent is unable to get up and go to the bathroom on their own or perform other basic activities that require movement, then they likely need professional living assistance.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that if a walker or wheelchair is required that a loved one should always have live-in care; however, if these devices aren’t able to adequately compensate for mobility problems, then professional care is probably needed.
6. Significant Health Issues
Another indicator that constant in-home care is needed is if health issues are beyond the scope of what can be addressed in occasional nursing care visits. These types of health issues could include cardiac and kidney diseases as well as other serious concerns that could escalate quickly in a medical emergency.
If you need help with your elderly parent or other loved one and believe they may need live-in care, then contact a qualified home care agency for assistance. They can help you evaluate the needs of your loved one and help make decisions that maintain dignity while providing peace of mind for you and your family.