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How to know if a loved one needs help at home

16th March 2022

 

As we get older, being independent in our home and in our private space can become harder as our mobility deteriorates. Our home should be a safe space but there are a number of factors that can occur that could make being independent in your home a little more difficult; from illness to mobility issues or even loneliness.

This article takes a look at some of the warning signs that a loved one may need some help within their home. Keep reading for information on how you can help them, and the type of aids that can be introduced to assist them around the home.

Loneliness 

 

Loneliness is one of the most common feelings for older adults, especially when loved ones have passed and living alone becomes their new reality.

Home Care Assistance reports on the effects loneliness can have on an elderly person in their home, commenting: “Social isolation is an epidemic among older adults. Loneliness can have a profound impact on someone’s emotional and physical wellbeing. It may also be a by-product of depression, which could be caused by an inability to get out of the house or having no one to talk to.”

If your loved one often stays in the home for long periods of time or often makes comments about wanting to go out and about more, then looking into having a carer or companion visit once or twice a week to have a cup of tea and a chat may be a good idea.

READ MORE: How to cultivate family life in older age

Falls

Falls are a common occurrence amongst older adults as mobility gets worse and our bodies often get weaker and less mobile. If falls become more frequent, it is a sure sign that the individual needs a little assistance in their home, or their home may need adapting slightly to better suit their needs.

If your loved one is falling or having trouble manoeuvring around their home, then it may be a good idea to re-assess their living space and reposition furniture to allow more room for walking and moving about. You could add grab rails and handles around the home to help them balance further; these are especially useful in the bathroom where slips and falls can be more likely.

Care Link provides more information on the topic on their website: “If your loved one has difficulty getting up from being seated or has actually fallen, it is time to look into options for in-home care. When their safety is at risk, getting in-home care for them should be a high priority. In the meantime, check for fall hazards, such as stairs, clutter, and more. Do your best to remove hazards if you can to decrease the risk of a fall. However, once there has been one fall, there will likely be another.”

Confusion

 

Does your loved one often get confused about certain things when you’re talking to them, or they misplace items and can’t remember where they put them? This might be a sign that they need a little more assistance in their home to keep them safe and healthy.

Confusion can easily lead to accidents or dangers in the home, so getting on top of the problem before it causes further issues within the home is a good idea. Making sure someone comes to the home every day to help with tasks like cooking, cleaning and washing can really put your mind at ease. Alternatively, you could try implementing systems to make things simpler, like timers for taking medicines or using smart speakers to set reminders and be able to drop in and talk in an instant.

Problems with mobility or health

For those living alone, mobility or health problems are often one of the first areas for concern, but these concerns can be easily rectified by aids like stairlifts and home lifts for the disabled. Victoria, a money and lifestyle blogger at Lylia Rose spoke to us about how aids in the home can really benefit older adults that might struggle with mobility:  

“It is not always easy to know if you need help at home. It is often a gradual process, and it is important to be able to recognise the signs. Some of the signs that you may need help at home include difficulty getting out of bed, difficulty dressing yourself, difficulty cooking meals, difficulty doing laundry or cleaning up around the house and/or difficulty getting around your house on your own particularly if there are steps that are becoming unmanageable. Ultimately, if you are finding it difficult to do simple tasks like cooking, showering, or dressing yourself due to physical limitations due to ageing, illness or a disability, then it might be time for you to consider hiring a professional caregiver.”

She continues to explain how mental health can also affect those who live alone or are less independent in their home: “It’s not just when we age or have physical limitations that we might require help at home, but also those who may be struggling with mental health. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and postpartum depression can take a toll on not just those who are suffering from it, but also those around them. The person with the illness might be overwhelmed and need help with basic tasks such as cooking, cleaning or childcare while they focus on getting the therapy required to feel better.”

Mess or clutter 

 

Mess and clutter may also be an indication that the person may be struggling to keep up the maintenance of a home and may need a little extra help to keep on top of things. Mess and clutter are also a health and trip hazard and getting someone in to help with the cleaning every few weeks will really help keep on top of things, as well as providing some company for the homeowner.

Home Care Assistance also comment about this point on their website, providing some solutions in the process: “One indication that a loved one may need help is when the home is always untidy or dirty. This may include clutter, accumulations of garbage or recycling, dirty or unfolded laundry, and stacks of dirty dishes. Usually, a cluttered and unkempt home can indicate a problem with home maintenance as well. The grass may be overgrown, or snow may not be shovelled. Lights or fire detectors are not replaced. Other safety issues may not be addressed in a safe and timely fashion.”

If you know someone who lives alone or is getting less independent in their home and want some guidance on what to look out for or how to help them in their environment, then hopefully these points have helped.

For more useful guides like this, take a look at our blog.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.