According to the 2020 Profile of Older Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the number of Americans over the age of 65 has increased by 14% over the last ten years. Compared to the relative increase of 3% for the under-65 population, the data indicates that America is an aging population.
This means that many people are increasingly faced with the quandary of what to do for an aging loved one who may need additional care. To help you find the care options that are right for your elderly parent, friend, or relative, here is an overview of the signs you should look for when considering whether your loved one needs more care.
Signs That Your Loved One Might Need More Care
A Change in Appearance or Hygiene
One of the first signs that an aging loved one needs assistance at home is a change in their appearance or hygiene. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a lack of self-care can result in a variety of hygiene-related diseases. If you notice that there has recently been a change in your loved one’s appearance or hygiene, talk to them about the possibility of arranging additional care.
Neglected Household Tasks
Another sign that it may be time to consider additional care options for your loved one is a messy environment or unfinished household tasks. If you notice that your parent, friends, or relative increasingly has a messy home, it may be due to an inability to meet the demands of home management.
A messy environment can be a dangerous situation for an aging person. A cluttered or unkept home may increase the potential for slips and falls. If you’re concerned that the day-to-day home maintenance is too much for your loved one to handle, it might be time to consider at-home assistance options.
A Change in Social Habits
The CDC has linked loneliness and social isolation to a variety of concerning health conditions. If your loved one lives alone, they may be at risk of developing poor social relationships related to isolation. Loneliness can increase the potential for serious health conditions such as depressions, dementia, and even heart disease.
A caregiving facility that is equipped to provide support and assistance for your loved one can help prevent isolation and loneliness. These communities offer a chance for residents to engage with one another and form meaningful relationships.
If you notice that your loved one is sitting down for long periods of time or they are reluctant to move around their home, they may be exhibiting signs of decreased mobility. If your parent or relative feels unable to move around their residence, they may be at risk for injuries related to trips and falls. Talk to your loved one and find out if it’s time to implement at-home safety features—such as handrails or electric hospital beds—that will aid with mobility.
What Are Some Options for Additional Care?
Assisted living facilities are designed to provide assistance with a variety of tasks and activities, including transportation, housekeeping, and maintenance. These facilities also offer a degree of independence for residents who are able to perform some tasks on their own. Assisted living can be a good option for your loved one who requires additional care in some areas.
At-home care can be provided by a professional caregiver, a friend or family member, or some combination of the two. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), one of the most important things to do when making arrangements for an at-home caregiving situation is to assess the needs of your loved one.
Providing adequate care at home requires detailed preparation and organization. One of the most important factors is the at-home equipment that will assist with bathing, sleeping, or movement around the house. Transfer Master is the industry leader in adjustable hospital beds for at-home care. If you’re looking for an at-home caregiver for your loved one, consider a hospital bed or mattress from Transfer Master.
If you’re considering an additional care option for your aging loved one, a nursing home might be the ideal solution. Nursing homes are typically equipped to provide medical care for elderly residents. These facilities can be particularly beneficial if you are concerned about the health of your parent or relative. In addition to medical assistance, nursing home facilities can also provide your loved one with the social support and communal engagement they need to make the successful transition to a new environment.
Independent Living Community
An independent living community or facility may be the ideal first step in terms of additional care. These communities typically do not offer a full range of assistance for elderly residents. Instead, independent living mainly consists of a community environment where all residents are at least 55 and older. These facilities or residential areas can provide your loved one with the social engagement and community network they need to adapt to new living arrangements.
Find the Level of Care that is Right for Your Loved One
Making caregiving decisions for someone you love is not easy. To help family members and friends decide what is best for their loved one, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has compiled a list of caregiving resources that can help you navigate the decisions that lie ahead and find the alternative care option that is right for your aging parent, friend, or relative.