There may come a time when you notice that someone close to you is struggling with day-to-day living. If you’re becoming concerned about the welfare of an elderly loved one, it might be time to start a conversation about whether extra support is needed.
When is the right time?
There are many reasons why you might feel that your loved one needs extra support. For example, they may be struggling with their mobility or living with a condition such as dementia or Parkinson’s.
You might also be noticing that they’re finding it more difficult to carry out tasks they were previously able to. Things like cleaning the house or remembering to take their medication.
Other warning signs you might want to keep a look out for include:
- Forgetting to cook or eat meals, leading to weight loss or dehydration
- Struggling with mobility or getting in and out of a chair
- Becoming confused or muddled with a daily routine
- Finding it hard to keep on top of tasks such as the washing-up or laundry
Remember, your loved one might find it hard to not only acknowledge they need help but also to accept it. Many families find it easier to broach the subject by focusing on the tasks that a loved one needs support with at home, such as help with cleaning the bathroom, doing the laundry or shopping.
It’s natural that your loved one might be concerned about having someone new in their home, even if it’s just for short home visits. Just like any new relationship, this familiarity and companionship grows over time as they both get to know each other. Your loved one is likely to find they have many things in common with their carer, and that conversation is easy and fluid.
This settling-in period often doesn’t last long. If you prefer, you can test the waters by arranging short-term care in the first instance so that you, your loved one and the carer all get to know each other.
Extra support after an operation
If you have an elderly relative or friend who is coming out of hospital, maybe following an operation, a smooth recovery can be made possible at home. Often, it can be hard for people to settle back in at home or adapt following surgery.
One of the reasons you might need to consider arranging extra support is to minimise the risk of falls. You might be concerned that they are pushing themselves too hard in their recovery or are a little unsteady on their feet as a result of an operation.
Home visits can give you peace of mind that someone will be there to keep your relative safe while still helping them rebuild their independence. They can also be a good way of helping them to rediscover their confidence after a fall and provide that all-important encouragement.
Companionship and friendship
‘Extra support’ isn’t limited to the warning signs we mentioned earlier. Sometimes, your loved one might just need a friendly face visiting each day.
With loneliness estimated to affect around 9 million people in the UK, elderly friends or relatives are particularly at risk of feeling isolated. This could be because their lifelong partner or a dear friend has passed away, or because their family has moved to a new area. They may be finding it difficult to find and build new relationships or even get out to social events taking place in their local community.
Though companionship may not always be the first thing you think of when you start talking about home care, it is incredibly important. If you’re worried that someone close to you is finding it hard to socialise, or is becoming withdrawn, talk to them about how they’re feeling.
Social interaction is especially important for people with a condition such as dementia. Take a look at how companionship can support a loved one’s emotional wellbeing.
Starting a conversation
It can be hard approaching the topic of extra help at home with an elderly relative. It’s only natural that they’ll want to keep their independence for as long as possible, especially if they’ve lived in the same place for several years.
Because everybody is unique, the care that your elderly loved one might need will be different to other people too. But by opening up the opportunity to discuss what they are struggling with, you can ensure they have the right support so they can live independently and in comfort.
If you are worried that someone in your life is starting to struggle, our team can talk you through the options available and help to start that conversation. Speak to us today about home care in your area.