There may come a time when the needs of the person you’re caring for start to become too much for you to manage on your own at home.
We’ve pulled together a list of some of the most common indicators that it may be time to consider alternative living arrangements for the person you’re caring for:
1. They are starting to have falls more frequently
This suggests your loved one’s mobility is worsening. Take a look for visible signs of bruising and scrapes, it may be time to consider a geriatric makeover in the home or assisted living.
2. Their dementia is worsening
If your loved one is living with dementia you may begin to notice that they are becoming more forgetful and struggling to perform basic tasks such as eating and dressing themselves. At first, this behaviour may be manageable in the home, but if their condition worsens they could become a danger to themselves at which point it becomes necessary to review other options.
3. They are losing weight
Weight loss is a common sign that your loved one may be struggling to cope on their own. Many health conditions can lead to weight loss, including depression and cancer, but dementia can also cause changes to your loved one’s health - it may be that they are forgetting to eat or they have forgotten how to cook certain meals.
4. They seem depressed
Sometimes when you spend a lot of time caring for someone you can become desensitised to changes in their behaviour. But take the time to see how they might be feeling, are they quieter than normal? Or do they seem particularly low?
5. They seem lonely
Sometimes the wellbeing of your loved one is less to do with their physical health, but more to do with their emotional state. Lack of companionship is associated with depression and heart problems in older adults, so moving to a place where other people are around could be lifesaving.
6. They are neglecting their personal care
If you notice a change in your loved one’s appearance or body odour, it may be a sign that they aren’t able to take care of themselves. Take a look at the cleanliness of their clothes, can you see any stains? Also, consider when they last bathed themselves.
7. Their house is unclean and untidy
If your loved one was particularly house proud and you notice that the house is increasingly becoming upkept and unclean, it could be a sign that they lack the physical capacity to tidy up after themselves. Spills that haven’t been cleaned up are also a common sign of dementia as the person is unable to recognise the follow-through to tidy.
8. They seem confused
While this can be a sign of dementia, it can also be a sign of overall cognitive decline which is common in old age. If they are struggling to make decisions, follow directions and need lots of prompts and reminders they may lack the capacity to live independently.
9. They are struggling with their finances
Older people are often targeted by fraudsters so it is important to check that your loved one is coping with their finances. Look out for unpaid bills, overdrawn bank accounts or significant letters from charitable organisations – these could all indicate that they aren’t able to cope financially on their own.