Do you feel responsible for the wellbeing of an older person? Perhaps you’re feeling stretched by the pressure to support an ageing parent, in addition to raising your own children, working, etc.
It can be a lot of pressure, if only because a key aspect of looking after elderly friends and relatives is the desire to help older people remain independent, while also ensuring a safe environment. This becomes increasingly difficult if you start to see signs that an elderly person may need assisted living, or if you’re worried about dementia being a factor.
So, what signs should you look for if you’re concerned that an elderly person may need assisted living?
Let’s take a look at some of the possible signals that can help you recognise whether a care package could provide a better quality of life for an elderly person requiring assisted living.
If you’re worried about dementia becoming a risk in your relative’s life, please note that while these signs could indicate the presence of dementia, you should always seek advice from a health professional.
1. Level of mobility. Is your relative having difficulty with walking? Would a mobility aid support him or her to move around the home more easily, or to go out? Observe how easily your relative finds shopping or cleaning tasks, and whether driving can still be safely undertaken. Simple observations can paint a clearer picture of the level of independence your relative enjoys, or could enjoy with the benefit of additional care.
2. A newly acquired injury or burn. A burn could indicate that your relative is struggling to cook safely. Other types of injuries might indicate that your relative is struggling with balance, that he or she may have recently suffered a fall. Accidents may occur as a result of memory loss. Because any of these scenarios can become even more serious with time, ongoing monitoring and precautions should be put in place where possible.
3. Meal mismanagement. If your relative is forgetting meals, losing weight or suddenly unable to cook or prepare meals, these situations could suggest that extra support is needed at meal times. Care at home can include meal support.
4. Unusual new behaviours. Paranoia, confusion or difficulties in communication can signal a decline in mental health. If you are concerned about the onset of any such tendencies, you should contact your local authority to arrange a care needs assessment.
5. Decline in hygiene. Is your relative no longer looking after his or her personal appearance in the way he or she used to? Think about his or her hair, clothes and general appearance. A decline in hygiene could indicate an emerging issue with cleanliness. If this is the case, it could mean that he or she is struggling to wash. An inability to wash one’s self, or to wash and iron one’s clothes, can be caused by forgetfulness or injury. Arthritis is one such illness that can cause enough pain to inhibit looking after one’s self.
6. Medication mismanagement. Has your relative stopped taking medication, or is a schedule of medication not being followed? This may be a sign that care support should be provided to ensure that medication is used properly.
7. Financial neglect. Has your relative suddenly started giving lots of funds away? Are unpaid bills starting to mount? Perhaps he or she cannot remember when certain payments need to be paid. Any of these situations could indicate that your relative may be experiencing problems with memory.
Have you noticed any of these types of situations affecting your relative? If you are concerned, it might be a good time to book a care needs assessment with your relative’s GP. The care needs assessment will explore whether a care package should be offered. If your relative does require care, he or she may even qualify for local authority funding.
If you are on the verge of choosing a care package, part of the process will involve identifying the right type of care either at home or in a care home. Care packages can start very small – it can be as simple as coming around and having a cup of tea and a chat, helping with the shopping, or helping to tidy up.
Use our free care search tool to find care near you – care providers who have immediate availability will give their latest prices.
Be assured that if you are concerned that an elderly relatives needs assisted living, or if you’re worried about dementia, the care needs assessment will evaluate both the mental and physical health of your relative. The outcome of the assessment should support your relative’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Of course, it’s not always easy to discuss care with elderly relatives. You can help broach the subject of care by inviting a trusted health professional or family friend to be part of the care conversation.
Last updated 13 June 2018