Ten years ago, before founding Harmony Home Care, we noticed that my parents begining to withdraw more and more. My father's driving habits were getting very bad. They both skipped medications, quit preparing meals opting instead for lot's of easy to eat processed foods and sugary snacks. At the time we were both busy in other careers and raising a family. We sensed something was wrong but disregarded these warning signs as just what happens when people get older. Finally after many hospitalizations, we realized we had to do something. We had made the all too common mistake of waiting too long to get my parents the in-home support they needed. Now the only choice we had left was to move them both into a nursing home. If we had brought in home care sooner, they would have had many more years to flourish at home.
Here are the top ten signs that your parents need a caregiver in the house now:
- Not paying household bills on time: Do you notice the mail piling up on the tables? Is some of it quite old and overdue? Are there some collection notices as well.
- Not recognizing need for, arranging, or scheduling necessary household repairs and maintenance (not mowing the lawn). Is the housework not getting done? Do you notice the plumbing's not working as well as it used to? How about the carpets and floors?
- Driving safely becomes an issue (increase in traffic tickets and accidents). My father became such a nuisance in a car, we were all afraid he was going to get he and my mother killed, not to mention the risk to the other drivers. I reluctantly had to report him to the DMV. They brought him in for a driving test which he failed. This action very well may have saved lives!
- Missing meals or not preparing meals (old expired food is in the fridge). How long has it been since the had a home prepared meal? Are the getting enough to drink?
- Declining personal hygiene (poor oral hygiene, body odor, unshaven).
- Lack of keeping up with household chores (laundry or cleaning). Our services include light housekeeping, laundry, linens, vacuuming...all the activities of daily living that seem to get neglected late in life.
- Losing track of medications, missed doses, overdosing: Perhaps the most dangerous of all the signs, not remembering and over dosing on medications is a common problem in unsupervised seniors.
- Unwillingness to leave the house to run errands or visit with friends: We all need to socialize to be healthy and prosper. It is in our DNA. Without we begin to decline mentally and physically. A good caregiver can encourage them, and take them out to see friends, go shopping, go out to eat, or just get outside to get some fresh air and sunshine.
- Unable to get up and down steps , dizziness and falls have occurred: I stopped by my dad's apartment one day to find he had fallen down the stairs outside, had caught his foot in the railing, and was lying head down facing down the stairs, trapped and stuck. He said he had been there for two hours! We were fortunate that he sustained no serious injuries.
- Not making sound decisions that are likely to cause self harm or danger to others (leaving the stove turned on)
If any of this sounds familiar, please give us a call. We are committed to helping families deal with these circumstances. Our staff will give you all the time you need on the phone to help you decide what is best for your family. If you are ready to move ahead with home care, we will do an in-home assessment at no charge.