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5 Signs My Parents May Need More Help at Home

  • In: Health | 27th August, 2019
Holding hands

It can be hard to admit that we need more help as we get older. For some, this admission can feel like the start of a loss of independence, and this in itself can give people a reason to soldier on. But by getting the right support in and around the home, people can keep the quality of their lives high, and enjoy the extra time that retirement brings.

Although it may seem easier to just get on with things despite finding some daily tasks and activities challenging, this can make it harder to talk about as time goes on. As a relative, this can make it twice as difficult to know when to step in and help. By understanding the warning signs and acting quickly, you can ensure that the home is both a safe and comfortable place for your loved one as they get older.

Some of the following signs may mean that your relative needs a little help around the home even if they’ve been reluctant to ask.

Trips and falls

Trips and falls are actually common around the home, and this risk increases as we get over the 55-age mark. Some areas of the home present greater risks than others, like the stairs for instance.

There are simple ways to remove hazards and make the home a safer place, however. Having an eye test is a simple, but effective way to check whether changes in eyesight are a contributing factor. You can also tidy away any trip hazards and modify rooms like the bathroom. Walk-in baths are one effective mobility aid that can provide added comfort and confidence to both older people and their relatives.

Changes in behaviour

Changes in behaviour can range from mood swings to lapses in memory, which may be particularly noticeable if it’s out of character. It’s completely normal for someone to feel moments of irritation by their own memory lapses or changes in mobility, but if the change in mood seems more permanent, it’s important to seek help.

We can be affected by depression as we age, and signs such as a lack of interest in any activity, or tearfulness on a continued basis may be a sign of that. Alternatively, your parent may be getting confused easily, or aggressive.

Changes in lifestyle and additional support can all help to combat changes like this. By encouraging social activities, extending their support network with new friends, and even using technology and social media to keep in touch regularly, you can help to bolster mood and increase independence.

Changes in appearance

Mobility issues can present the added issue of reducing someone’s ability to care for themselves. Dressing and personal hygiene and just two aspects of daily life taken for granted when we’re physically fit and able. But they can become challenging if we can’t move easily.

Simple dressing aids can help with common issues such as putting on shoes and stockings. Future-proofing the home with mobility aids like accessible bathrooms is another useful trick. Power reclining bath seats walk in baths and showers, and wheelchair-friendly wet rooms are all ways to modify the home to fit essential lifestyle needs.

Struggling with daily tasks

Changes in the appearance of the home are another indicator that your relative is struggling with day-to-day tasks. If the home is usually clutter-free and clean, a decline in tidiness may be more obvious.

It’s important to see what kinds of changes are occurring around the home, as they can give you a clue to the problem. For example, leaving more items downstairs could mean that they are struggling to carry things upstairs.

Change to lifestyle

If you were struggling either with low mood or physical impairments, going out and doing all the things you used to relish may feel like a chore. If you notice that your loved one is cutting down on social activities, exercise or even struggling with their sleep, it can also be a sign of depression.

Finding out what the nature of the problem is, through gentle and honest conversation can be helpful. But it’s important to be sensitive in your approach, and have some idea of what the issue may be before you leap in. By having a fuller picture of what changes have taken place in and around the home, you’ll be able to start to gauge what may be troubling your relative, and how you could help.