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Test - Does My Elderly Loved One Need Home Care? | Fedelta Home Care, Seattle WA

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March 30, 2021

Test - Does My Elderly Loved One Need Home Care?


The sad fact is that most adult children of seniors learn that an aging parent needs additional help in an emergency room or urgent care center. This often happens after an accident or illness that may have been avoided with mindful observation.

Communication is a critical part of helping with the care of an elderly loved one, but they are not likely to tell you when they need additional help. It can be very difficult for seniors to recognize and even more difficult to admit that they need help with things they have done by themselves all their lives. 

Knowing about a parent or elderly loved one’s health issues can be a key step in knowing their capabilities, however there are other, more subtle signs that might indicate that they need be struggling with their day-to-day activities. 

These 12 quick questions can help you evaluate if one of your loved ones might benefit from in-home care.

Keep track of the questions to which you answer YES. For your privacy, no test answers are recorded.

1 — Do they have unexplained scrapes or bruises?
These could be signs of a fall or other accident that they may not wish to talk about or even remember. Falls can be devastating to an elderly body. Bones are more fragile as we age and heal more slowly. 

2 — Are they dehydrated or malnourished?
Not eating or drinking enough or healthy food and drink can be a warning sign for a variety of issues that could be affecting them. Look for signs that they getting enough to eat or drink such as significant weight loss or gain, fatigue, sunken eyes.

3 — Do they use a lot of sticky notes or take a lot of notes in a notebook?
This can be a sign of a weakening memory and could provide an early warning to look out for other signs of memory issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

4 — Do they struggle with their laundry?
This seemingly mundane chore can be challenging to someone who is aging and maybe losing some strength and mobility. It can require lifting  and carrying heavy bags or baskets, as well as bending and stretching. Signs this may be a struggle are: wearing dirty clothes, items left in washer or dryer, or even requesting you do it for them.

5 — Are they unable to cook or prepare meals for themselves?
Not being up to cooking because of strength or fatigue can be a vicious circle. It can lead to malnutrition which can exacerbate those issues. Get a sense of what your loved one is doing for meals and if they are able to prepare them safely.

6 — Is the housekeeping level declining considerably?
Their space may not be spotless, but if there is a marked change in the level of cleanliness, that can be an indication htousekeeping is getting too difficult. Cleaning house can be tiring and require more physical abilities than they may be capable of.

7 — Are they missing doses of their medications or getting the dosage wrong?
If they are taking multiple medications, it’s important that they are taken in accordance with the doctor’s orders. Forgotten doses could be a sign of memory struggles, or that there are other issues with the medication (e.g. out of the medicine, lapsed prescription, or unpleasant side effects).

8 — Have they lost friends recently?
An inevitable part of aging is that we lose our friends more frequently. This can cause sadness, depression, and loneliness as they face the increasing number of missing people in their lives.

9 — Are there incomplete errands or chores piling up?
Whether it’s forgetfulness, physical ability, or motivation, some things need to get done and failure to do so can have unpleasant consequences. Look for things that they may not have gotten done: a pile of unopened mail, unpaid bills, unfilled prescriptions, missed appointments, etc.

10 — Do they struggle to carry a bag of groceries?
This simple task is one that many seniors struggle with. A full bag of groceries can be heavy and awkward to carry. Carrying it a long way from the car or up stairs can be very challenging. Check to see if they have fresh groceries and if they have been eating well.

11 — Is there an increase in accidents or errors?
These can be small such as paying the wrong amount for a bill or leaving a door open, or more dangerous such as fender benders or leaving the stove on. These can be signs of impaired memory or other cognitive faculties.

12 — Are they neglecting their hygiene and grooming?
Unkempt hair, unpleasant smells, wearing the same clothes every day, and other signs of bad hygiene or grooming can be indicative of issues that might be affecting their happiness and quality of life. Whether caused by memory loss, depression, physical ability, or other medical condition, these issues should be addressed.

How many YES answers did you get?

1-3: A few limitations in their abilities could be easy to work around (e.g., doing smaller loads of laundry, getting a neighbor to help carry groceries, getting a medication organizer) but keep these issues in mind as your loved one ages. Don’t let a loved one’s challenges become an emergency.

4-7: It might be time to start considering someone that could help your loved one in areas where they struggle. Just a few hours a week could make a significant difference in their lives or even prevent an accident.

7+: The number of areas where your loved one is facing challenges will only continue to grow. Now is the time to find a working solution before these struggles result in an accident or injury.

No single issue is necessarily a sign that they are unable to care for themselves. But, if you start noticing an increase in these kinds of issues, it may be time to consider Home Care to help them.

Fedelta Home Care offers a wide variety of services with flexible schedules. Our Caregivers can help with everything from a few hours a week of companionship and helping around the house to longer shifts to aid with personal care, meal preparation, and more.

Fill out the form below to  have a Home Care Advisor contact you to set up a complimentary, risk-free assessment and a fully customized Care Plan based on your loved one’s needs.