The U.S. Census Bureau says that more than 56 million people in the U.S. are age 65 or older. As people age, they are more and more likely to need assistance with the activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and walking or transferring out of bed or chairs. Seniors need to be able to successfully complete those five activities to stay independent in their own homes.
Some Americans over 65 have family caregivers who help them with these activities. That assistance helps them stay home where they are comfortable and happy. There comes a time, however, when family caregivers are no longer enough. The elderly loved one needs professional help.
The following are four signs that an elderly family member is at the stage they need professional help.
1. Are the Living Quarters Messy?
The everyday cleaning activities in a home or an apartment become more difficult as the body ages. Chores become challenging. One of the earliest signs is a house with dirty dishes lying about, bedclothes that have not been changed in weeks, or laundry that piles up in a corner. Chances are that family caregivers can no longer provide the increased number of hours away from their own family responsibilities to attend to Mom or Dad's needs. Perhaps it is time to bring on professional help with cleaning chores.
2. Does a Loved One Exhibit Unsanitary Personal Habits?
A change in personal hygiene habits may indicate that a loved one no longer has the physical capability or the energy to take care of these essential activities. If your senior loved one showered every day, washed their face, and combed their hair every morning throughout their life, but stopped doing that, it may be time to get help.
3. Has a Loved One Exhibited Repeated Minor Injuries?
Falls are prevalent in elderly people. They do not have to take the form of major disasters, however. Sometimes a clue to whether a senior has challenges living alone is whether they suffer repeated minor injuries, like sprains. If a parent lives in a two-story home, repeated bruises may indicate difficulty navigating stairs.
4. Are Family Caregivers Facing Burnout?
Do not ignore caregiver burnout. If efforts to help a loved one live independently exhaust and negatively affect other aspects of a family caregiver's life, then it's time to seek professional caregiver assistance. Caregivers cannot help anyone if they suffer from exhaustion.
Taking the Next Steps
If the answer is yes to one of the items listed above, it is time to evaluate the types of professional caregiver assistance available in the senior's area. Make a list of the pros and cons of in-home professional help versus an assisted living facility.
Significant financial considerations arise when choosing an assisted living facility. Some facilities require a "buy-in" of thousands of dollars. Some assisted living facilities have round-the-clock medical care, while others have nursing care with a physician on-call. Naturally, the difference in care impacts the cost of care, too.
If your loved one lives in Fort Collins, Englewood, Littleton, or Lone Tree, get in touch with the Senior Helpers-Fort Collins. Don't hesitate to contact us to learn more about our in-home caregiver program. We want to help your family's elderly loved ones stay safe and happy in their home.