The best gift you can bestow upon your elderly parent or family member is the gift of autonomy. Autonomy, or also known as independence, is one element in the aging process that not only ensures a healthy transition from the workforce to retirement (read more) but also gives the older population a chance to fulfill the last developmental stage of their life: Integrity. Fulfilling this stage means one looks back to the life they lived with no regrets and a positive outlook.
Most of the time, autonomy manifests in our elderly family members living alone or with their elderly spouse. This means no one is there to make decisions for them, no one to assist them, or someone to ask for help from but themselves. You might think this is a miserable way to live, but for many older clients, this shred of autonomy is one thing they struggle to give up when the time comes.
It’s the reality of the aging process; we’ll soon lose our usual youthful ability, like something simple such as walking up the stairs or doing household chores. For our older family members, ideal home care services are needed, one that provides them autonomy while monitoring their safety. Of course, this is only applied to seniors, not confined to wheelchairs or the bed.
Go Signals For Home Care Services
#1: Difficulty In Walking Or Having A Wobbly Gait
Joint pains, such as osteoarthritis, are one common condition suffered by seniors aged 65 and above. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage wears thin due to use over the years, and the two edges of large bones (such as the lower region of your femur and upper region of your fibula) rub together whenever the person is in motion. This friction causes sharp, painful sensations experienced in joint areas.
This condition is the most common reason why your elderly family member may have an unsteady gait or grimacing every time they try to walk for longer than 5 minutes. This manifests through little behaviors such as holding onto furniture while walking or taking frequent stops mid-walk. Unfortunately, this disease cannot be cured, only alleviated with constant treatment and analgesics.
If the senior suffers from osteoarthritis, there is a big chance they will or have experienced falls and near-falls in the duration of the disease. Almost 36 million seniors suffer from falls every year, resulting in 36,000 deaths (link: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/older-adult-falls/index.html), while one out of 5 falls result in injury. These injuries entail head concussions and hip fractures, both of which are fatal to the elderly due to their poor physical state and decreased recovery rate.
This becomes the most important go signal your senior family member needs to consider having home care services. Once they manifest problems in their mobility, the risk of accidents increases immediately. Don’t let it escalate, and find a quality caregiver immediately.
#2: Convalescing From A Present Disease Or Injury
The physical state of our bodies gradually declines as our age climbs up. It’s the natural course of life for anyone, even for those with excellent health during their earlier years. That’s why when they fall ill. Seniors take more time to recover from an illness or an injury. In some worst cases, they never do.
That’s why they need someone to be there to meet their needs. Signing up for home care services becomes more of a necessity than an option left on the backburner. A professional is a must-have, one that is able to provide nutritious meals, assist in household chores, remind the client of their medication and making sure they take it on time. These simple things may seem inconsequential, but they’re a big help for someone who isn’t in their optimal health.
#3: Driving Becomes Increasingly Difficult And Ultimately Impossible
One way to exercise independence and control over one’s life is by driving a car. This means you are able to take yourself to places of your own choosing, at any time you need to. However, what happens when driving isn’t feasible anymore?
Elderly clients suffer from faltering vision and hearing, some of the basic senses required to drive safely. Road accidents become more and more frequent, with intoxication at the top of the list of causes. Somewhere beside it are seniors maneuvering their vehicle despite already being incapable.
Not all elderly clients enjoy driving alone, however. They very much appreciate caregivers who can take the wheel for them and drop them off at events, meetings, or just go around for a long drive.
#4: They Skip Chores Or Take A Long Time Finishing Them
An elderly loved one who usually keeps a clean home or pays bills promptly is someone who keeps a strict routine. However, once you notice signs of discomfort, such as unfinished chores or poor hygiene, it’s time to consider it a go signal for home care. It may be due to limited mobility or an altered cognitive state; whichever they’re suffering still warrants for a professional beside them at all times.
#5: Drastic Weight Loss
Weight loss can happen because of two things: a condition that hinders proper metabolism, or they are just not eating enough proper food. While the former will need both home care services and a proper check-up with the doctor, the latter can be solved with just the help and guidance of a caregiver. Said professionals are able to whip up meal preps, make sure they’re packed with nutrients badly needed by seniors, and serve them promptly, three times a day.
#6: Feelings Of Isolation Or Loneliness
Sure, physical and nutritional difficulties can pose some difficult problems, but there is one that transcends any other dilemma one finds when one is aging, and that’s loneliness. Loneliness can cripple one’s self-confidence and motivation in life, leading them to idleness and unproductivity. Even worse, loneliness can cause seniors to feel a deep sense of depression, increase their risk of heart problems, immune system diseases, and mortality rate.
One solution for this problem is to have a caregiver that doubles as their companion and someone who can help them maintain their autonomy.