Seniors experience big changes in health and well-being, sometimes with little warning to the people who love them. Family caregivers can play a crucial role in making sure seniors have the help and support that they need in order to weather those changes. Sometimes it can feel tricky to determine when additional home care assistance is the right move, especially when family caregivers are trying to be as subtle as possible.
Engage in Active Listening
Active listening is a powerful tool for understanding what an aging family member may be experiencing. When spending time with them, it helps for family caregivers to offer their full attention, and encourage open and honest communication. Pay attention not only to what they say but also to their tone of voice, body language, and any hesitations or pauses. Sometimes, seniors may drop subtle hints about their concerns, fears, or physical challenges during casual conversations.
Observe Daily Activities
Observing an aging family member’s daily activities can reveal a lot about their physical and cognitive abilities. Pay attention to how they move around their living space, perform routine tasks, and manage personal care. Are they having difficulty with mobility or experiencing unexplained bruising? Are they having trouble remembering appointments or events? These observations can help family caregivers identify potential areas where additional support from elder care services may be needed.
Monitor Changes in Mood and Behavior
Changes in mood and behavior can be significant indicators of an underlying issue. Is the aging adult becoming more withdrawn, agitated, or irritable? Are they expressing feelings of sadness or anxiety? Such changes may signify emotional distress or other health concerns. Be attentive to these shifts and approach seniors with empathy and understanding. Initiating a conversation about their feelings and emotions can lead to a deeper understanding of their needs.
Assess Home Safety
Conduct a thorough assessment of the senior’s living space to identify potential safety hazards. Look for tripping hazards, loose rugs, or poorly lit areas that could pose a risk for falls. Check the functionality of safety features, such as handrails in the bathroom or grab bars near the stairs. Ensuring a safe living environment can prevent accidents and injuries and provide peace of mind for both the aging family member and the family caregiver.
Notice Changes in Personal Hygiene
Personal hygiene can offer insights into an aging adult’s ability to manage daily activities. Are they neglecting grooming or hygiene tasks that they used to perform diligently? Changes in personal appearance or an unkempt living space may indicate that they need home care assistance to support them with certain tasks.
Keep Track of Medical Appointments and Medications
Maintaining a record of medical appointments and prescribed medications can help family caregivers spot patterns or changes in their aging family member’s health. Are there more frequent visits to the doctor or changes in medication regimens? Keeping track of these details can be valuable during conversations with healthcare professionals and provide a more comprehensive understanding of their senior’s overall health.
Subtly determining what is going on with an aging family member requires sensitivity, keen observation, and open communication. Family caregivers often need to be patient and compassionate when they make suggestions like hiring home care assistance.