Recognizing the signs that an elderly parent needs more care and support

Recognizing the signs that an elderly parent needs more care and support

Caregiving doesn’t always begin with a sudden diagnosis or health episode, like a stroke. Sometimes it creeps up on us, or we are unaware of the early warning signs that the person in need of care is exhibiting.

Slight changes in your aging parent’s behaviour, personality, level of self-care, or the ability to do household chores can indicate that their need for care and support is increasing.

It's important for families and caregivers to keep a watchful eye on the people in their care, especially seniors, even when they are living independently and are in good physical and mental health. Knowing what to look for can help prepare caregivers for the upcoming changes to their caregiving journey.

Slight changes in your aging parent’s behaviour, personality, level of self-care, or the ability to do household chores can indicate that their need for care and support is increasing.

Here is a list that adult children and caregivers can use to observe changes in their parents’ behaviour and personal care. Please note that this list should not be used to diagnose individuals. Only licensed health care professionals are able to make medical diagnoses and put together treatment plans for their patients.

Behavioural changes

  • Irritable (gets upset easily)
  • Angry (loses temper)
  • Sad (tearful)
  • Withdrawn (does not want to talk)
  • Confused (does not understand what is happening)
  • Memory loss (forgets or repeats conversations, medications unfilled or not being taken)

We all have different personalities and our moods can differ depending on the day so you may not want to rush to the doctor every time your mom or dad has a bad mood. However, if he or she has been acting out of character for some time, there may be an underlying reason for it. Try to have a conversation with them about how they are feeling and discuss ways you can help.

Changes in activities of daily living

  • Difficulty moving (getting out of a chair, walking across the room)
  • Difficulty getting in and out of the bath tub
  • Difficulty getting to the toilet
  • Problems preparing meals
  • Dirty and cluttered house (food expired, laundry piling up, neglected home repairs)

Here are some examples of how changes to the person’s behaviour, character, and/or daily living activities can affect different aspects of their life:

  • Balance and mobility: shaky balance and difficulty with moving can increase the person’s risk for falling and injury
  • Personal safety: a person with dementia may wander, which is a serious safety risk
  • Nutrition: the person in your care may be getting too much or not enough food each day
  • Personal hygiene: if neglected can increase risk of infection

Often your parent may be reluctant to say they need help, or try to downplay the trouble they are having.

Sometimes providing help in even a small way can make a big difference and allow them to retain as much independence as possible.

As a person’s need for more care and support increases, it’s only natural for their caregiver to feel burned out as they try to meet their needs. Elizz can help you with the day to day tasks of caregiving to help you focus on more important matters like spending quality time with the person in your care, your family, or focus on your own needs. Call us at 1-855-275-3549 to learn more about our Home Care and Virtual Care Services.

 

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