When to consider the care options for your family

Most family members help out as best they can but if older relatives start to suffer debilitating illness, providing care at home may no longer be a suitable option. Help with cooking, shopping and housekeeping is something most of us feel comfortable with, but situations can and do change quickly for the elderly. Likewise your own situation may change and providing home care may no longer be possible. 

It is important to know at what point you should enquire about care homes or residential care in your area which would be suitable for your parents or family members. When changes should be made In the majority of cases, close family members who have looked after their parents for any length of time may simply not recognise when things become more serious and beyond their own physical or emotional capabilities. Signs of this may include: 

Depression – this may include staying in bed, not wanting to go out of the house, piles of unopened letters, neglecting the housework, not eating or wanting to communicate with other family members or friends

Falls – if falls are becoming more frequent, it could mean that the house is too difficult for the older person to get around safely on their own 

Long recoveries – if your parent is taking a long time to recover from coughs, colds or other minor ailments it could mean they need higher levels of professional support 

If a parent is unable to perform activities of daily living (ADL’s), which include going to the toilet, dressing, cooking etc. they may need more care The signs do not always mean a parent should move out of their home immediately, but it may be a good time to start looking at the different care options available to you. If however, reduced mobility, frailty and forgetfulness in response to health issues become apparent, your parent’s care may need to change more quickly. You may need to seek more urgent alternative care options if: 

Your family member is suffering from a degenerative disease such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease or Parkinson’s Disease which will gradually get worse 

The elderly person has suffered a major health event such as a heart attack or stroke, they will most likely require a higher level of everyday care 

If your parent is taking prescribed medications and is confused about which pills to take and how often, this will increase their care needs It is very important for children of elderly parents to recognize these changes and ensure that personal and medical needs are being met. If they are unsure of how to go about this, or how to find a care home or alternative care for their loved ones, they should contact social services in their parents’ area or their local GP for assistance. This will not only help the older person to feel safe and secure but will also give peace of mind to their family.