Whether a loved one is diagnosed with dementia or facing other health concerns, watching them age is often difficult. When physical or cognitive health is in question, decisions sometimes are necessary to preserve independence and continue to promote longevity. Sometimes, making those decisions means planning for professional assistance through live-in care. Knowing when it is time to take this leap is sometimes difficult. Here are some things to consider.
Maintaining mobility is a key factor to safely aging in place. When seniors are less mobile, social ties often diminish. The person might also feel incapable of completing essential daily tasks. These include bathing, brushing their teeth, preparing a meal or even getting out of bed. Sometimes mobility concerns can be addressed with the assistance of medical interventions and physical therapy. Many seniors regain safe mobility with assistance from a walker, cane or wheelchair. Others need around the clock support to safely ambulate even for simple tasks like using the bathroom. If this describes your loved one, live-in care may be appropriate.
Healthy aging is enhanced when seniors eat a balanced diet. Consuming regularly scheduled meals and snacks throughout the day is recommended. Give your loved one a big hug. If significant weight loss is noticeable to you, a likely culprit is their nutritional habits. If they cannot safely stand to prepare meals, get to the store to purchase food or remember that it is time to eat, the weight loss will continue until those problems are addressed.
Some seniors find solutions with the help of family friends. Many will prepare meals for their aging loved one on the weekend that are easy to reheat. Others receive visits from meal delivery volunteers. Still others might enjoy the company of a family member who takes them to grocery shop a few times a month. These solutions are often effective for seniors with more minimal limitations and needs. When several of these needs are combined or the senior has more advanced cognitive decline, it might be time to consider live-in care.
Along with eating a healthy diet, taking medications as scheduled supports longevity and aging in place. Seniors who need to take medications several times a day sometimes feel confused or forgetful. They often fail to remember whether or not they have taken a dose. This causes them to either skip a dose or take too much of the medication.
Some seniors are assisted by a basic pill box that family, friends or a homecare nurse sets up for them once a week. In certain cases, this is not enough support. Some seniors might have a difficult time getting out of bed, even to take their medications without support. Others might feel confused even when looking at the pillbox because they don’t comprehend the time of day or day of the week. In these situations, live-in care offers an extra layer of support. A professional caregiver can remind seniors to take their medications on time. They often also encourage seniors to make medication management a part of their normal daily routine.
Other Signs to Watch For
Several other signs can indicate a senior needs extra support from a professional caregiver. They include:
- Knicks and dents in the car that indicate the senior is unsafe while driving.
- Unopened mail and extensive clutter that indicate the house is difficult for them to manage.
- Days spent without leaving the house that might indicate the senior is depressed or afraid to leave home because of cognitive decline.
- A drastic change in appearance. Wearing the same clothes repeatedly or wearing clothes that are very inappropriate for the season. These things can indicate a person is having difficulty managing personal care tasks independently.
While none of these reasons alone indicate live-in care is necessary, when several of them are present at once, the senior might need a higher level of support. This is especially true when family members live far away and are not able to assist on a regular basis with personal care and home care. Oftentimes, the best way to determine if live-in care is necessary is by talking honestly with the senior, meeting with a homecare provider like Salus Homecare San Fernando Valley and having the situation evaluated. The agency works with you and your loved one to create an effective plan of care that may include hourly support, regularly weekly assistance or live-in care as it best fits your loved one’s needs and your family’s budget.
If your loved one is enjoying a full life, lots of support and community connections, live-in care is probably the furthest thing from your mind. However, it is important to watch for indications it may be necessary which often begin as more subtle changes. Look for these signs, have honest conversations with your aging loved one and never hesitate to reach out for professional support. Doing this is the best way to support aging in place and keep your loved one happy and healthy for years to come.
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