Christmas is a time when all the generations tend to get together, so it’s often when families most notice deterioration in the mental or physical capacities of an older relative.
Typical warning signs include:
- Your loved one needs reminding of a close relative’s name at every mention of their name
- They forget where rooms like the bathroom or the kitchen were, or wander at odd times into odd places
- They seem unsteady on their feet and at risk of falling
- They seem unhappy, uncommunicative or irritable
If this is something you experienced this Christmas, then it’s important to act now.
Find a time to talk
Physical or mental changes usually happen over time, so your loved one may not realise that they can no longer do the things they once did. However, they may be aware that they’re not coping well, but they don’t want to be a bother to the rest of the family. They may also be afraid of the possibility of giving up their independence.
It’s important to tread carefully when talking to them about possible help and support. Find a time to talk to them about what they’re finding difficult, from getting dressed to doing chores or simply getting about. Explain that you’re concerned and you want to help make life easier for them.
Getting professional help
Whatever level of care and support you feel your loved one needs, speak to social services next to explain your loved one’s challenges. They’re connected to all the local care and support services in the community and have helped thousands of families like yours. They will arrange to do an assessment of your loved one’s needs and will help you to organise – and potentially fund – whatever is needed, from panic buttons and home-delivered meals, to housekeeping and care at home services through to supported living or residential care.
We’re here for you
If your loved one’s needs mean they’ll be safer moving into residential care, the team at your local Care UK care home will be happy to talk you through the next steps. Find your nearest Care UK home. There’s also a helpful section on our website about choosing and funding care.
Download our free guides
Care UK produces a range of handy guides to help you with different aspects of caring for an older loved one. They’re all free, and you can download them from the links below.
A helping hand is full of practical advice and support for family carers
Eating as we age provides tips and recipes for eating well and staying hydrated in older age
Good to go offers ideas for fun and stress free dementia-friendly days out
As easy as ABC is all about getting meaningful activities into everyday life
Listen, talk, connect provides practical ways to communicate with loved ones who are living with dementia