Many care professionals stress that seniors should start seeking out care sooner rather than later. Even those that want to stay independent and self sufficient for as long as possible can benefit from an earlier search, but not because they necessarily need to start receiving senior care sooner than they want to or need to.
In-home care can often be used to help increase independence. This might seem counterintuitive, but it is true. The issue is that this hard earned independence can disappear quickly. One accident in the house, and suddenly your parent will find themselves in the hospital, and then perhaps in a rehabilitation center afterward. They might be dependent on a caregiver for the rest of their lives as a result of their need for independence. In a situation like this, it’s easy to see that a small amount of care before it’s desired would prevent the need for a lot of care.
This is a complicated–and oftentimes touchy–subject. For example, many seniors are vehemently opposed to even talking about the fact that they might need help getting around the house and managing their day to day tasks now. They argue that they have worked hard to take care of themselves their whole lives and that they are not going to stop now. You might even have someone like this in your family.
You have a fine line to walk if you are trying to advocate for senior care of some sort when it’s unwanted, especially because you cannot predict the future. We don’t know if our mom or dad is going to fall in the kitchen trying to make themselves dinner. There are certainly warning signs, though. If you are noticing changes in how your mom or dad acts, how they see or hear, or if they are suddenly a lot thinner or shakier than they were, these things can be signs that your parent is at risk. Because these things can be indicative of functional changes, they put your parent at risk of a change in how their body will respond. This does not mean that they will definitely suffer from a fall, but it does put them at a higher risk of one. As you might know, the easiest way to recover from a devastating fall is to never have one.
Talking about this early is important. Senior care can be a difficult topic to approach, but when it is viewed as something that can actually help them to live a higher quality of life and have more freedom, some of the barriers that people have when thinking about care can be avoided.
Sometimes, the topic of care might be better handled by a professional. If you have struggled to have this discussion with your parent, talk to their doctor about your concerns. They might have advice about care that they are willing to pass on. It’s also important to see the various types of care that are available. Not all care is the same, and sometimes it is just the concept of a nursing home that is opposed, and not in-home care at all.