The time that we spend with family members over Christmas can often highlight changes in a person’s mental and physical abilities. Were there any warning signs that you spotted in your loved one? Did they need reminding of a close relative’s name often, or at every mention? Did they forget where rooms like the bathroom or the kitchen were? Or did they walk at odd times into odd places? Did they seem unsteady on their feet, or were they unhappy, uncommunicative or irritable?
Physical or mental deterioration usually happens over time, so a 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 burden or risk losing their independence.
Having the difficult conversation
It’s important that you find a time to talk to your relative about your concerns. Choose an opportunity when you both have the time and space to talk about what they’re finding difficult. Tread very carefully when first broaching the subject by explaining what you’re concerned about and that you want to make life easier for them with help and support.
Getting professional help
Whatever level of care and support you feel your loved one needs, speak to social services and 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. There are lots of options that may help your loved one, from panic buttons and home-delivered meals, housekeeping and care-at-home services, 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