When considering in-home care and how aging is affecting your loved ones, consider Activities of Daily Living and how well they can be performed on a daily basis. Many people can go a long time being independent and not needing care, and others may decline quickly.
The aging process varies from person to person and takes into account how well they have taken care of themselves thus far, as well as genetic conditions they are susceptible to and more. Keep reading below for ideas on how to assess your loved one and determine when it's time to hire an in-home caregiver.
Activities of Daily Living are categorized by what someone can and cannot do, or may have trouble doing on a daily basis such as:
Self-feeding: Can your aging loved one feed themselves without additional help? Do they need encouragement or do they forget when to take a bite?
Functional Mobility: Can your loved one navigate their home well? Get out of bed by themselves?
Dressing: Can your loved one pick out weather-appropriate clothing for themselves and put on their clothes without help?
Bathing or Showering: Is your loved one a fall risk? As people age, many of them become afraid of daily tasks such as showering because they don't have good balance or are afraid they'll fall. A way to assess this is if there have been any recent falls, or if your loved one is neglecting their hygiene needs out of fear of falling.
Personal Hygiene and Grooming: Does your loved one frequently have matted or tangled hair? New cavities in their teeth? This can be the result of not being able to take care of these things themselves which can indicate they need help with hygiene needs.
Toileting: Can your loved one use the restroom on their own? Do they forget to use the restroom leading to accidents? Assessing this is important, and determining the need for adult underwear or help with toileting and toileting hygiene. Poor toilet hygiene can cause infections such as UTIs or sores on their skin and warrants medical attention.
If they have issues that make it difficult or impossible for them to take care of these ADLs independently, you need to find them the appropriate help to ensure your loved one's quality of life.
Whether it’s providing care (you or someone else who is qualified) or investing in the proper equipment and accessories to help them continue doing daily tasks independently, be aware that there are many choices and options available. There are many different levels of care; for example, maybe your loved one needs help preparing meals but can use the restroom independently, or perhaps your loved one just needs to be socially supported and simply needs someone to engage with them and do things with them. No two individuals are alike, and what may be difficult for one person, may not be an issue in another.
Other types of daily living activities related to independent functioning are called instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). IADLs most often refer to the following types of activities:
Cooking and Preparing Meals
Cleaning and Maintaining the Home
Shopping and Buying Necessities
Managing Money and Paying Bills
Speaking or Communicating on the Phone or Through Other Devices
Taking Prescribed Medications
It is important to the overall well-being of elderly loved ones that their IADLs are taken care of effectively and consistently.
If there are obstacles or difficulties doing these independently, consider hiring help. Taking an honest look at the ways in which an elderly parent needs support is the first step. Then determine the possible solutions in order to get them the help they need. Click here to view a list of services we can provide to help your loved one and help improve their quality of life as they age!