HomeSpark Home Care Blog


How and When to Talk to Your Aging Parents About In-home Care

29 Jan, 2021 | Deciding on Care | Return|

Picture this scenario: It's the middle of the night, around 2:00 a.m., and suddenly your phone rings, jolting you awake. As you pick up the call, a concerned voice on the other end informs you that your 72-year-old mother has been rushed to the emergency room following a serious fall. Without hesitation, you rush to the hospital to be by her side. As you enter her room, a flurry of healthcare professionals, including nurses, case managers, and therapists, come and go, bombarding you with questions about her insurance, health history, and family updates. Amidst the chaos, the last thing you want to think about is the future care your mom will require after her discharge. However, according to experts in elder care, most families tend to postpone discussions about aging care until after a crisis occurs.

These experts suggest that if you are in your forties and your parents are in their seventies, it is an ideal time to start having conversations about your parents' care needs and their preferences. Undoubtedly, these conversations can be challenging, so we recommend following the C.A.R.E. method:

C – Challenges: Ask your parents about the challenges they anticipate facing in the coming years.

A – Alternatives: Discuss the various options available to address those challenges.

R – Resources: Explore the resources and assets that can support them in overcoming those challenges.

E – Experience: Understand the kind of experience they want for themselves and what they wish to avoid.

Taking a proactive approach to these conversations will make it much easier to initiate the necessary care when the time comes. But how do you determine when it's the right time to initiate care? While a debilitating fall or a health event like a stroke may make the need for care evident, more often, the signs of decline manifest gradually over time and may not be immediately apparent. The Mayo Clinic suggests watching for the following warning signs, which indicate that your parents may require additional assistance:

Ability to Manage Self-Care

Notice if your loved one's personal hygiene declines, if they dress sloppily or neglect their appearance. Changes in household upkeep, such as unpaid bills, malfunctioning appliances, or untidy living conditions, can also provide clues about their overall health.

Significant Memory Loss

Occasional memory lapses are normal, but persistent memory loss affecting crucial aspects of daily life, such as orientation, driving skills, or following instructions, should be cause for concern.

Safety in the Home

Assess the home environment for potential hazards, like clutter, loose rugs, or exposed electrical cords. An inability to reach objects easily, read medication labels, or incidents like falls or missed medication doses indicate a need for a safer living space.

Safe Driving

Look for signs of impaired driving, such as slower reflexes, diminished vision or hearing, and increased confusion. A history of accidents, tickets, or warnings further emphasizes the need for intervention.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Sudden weight loss without a clear cause could point to physical or mental health issues. Factors like difficulty cooking, loss of taste or smell, socioeconomic challenges, or underlying medical conditions may contribute to weight loss.

Mood or Spirit Changes

While it's natural for the elderly to experience occasional sadness, persistent changes in mood, lasting longer than usual, could indicate clinical depression or other illnesses.

Social Activity

Social engagement plays a vital role in maintaining physical and mental well-being. Check if your loved one remains socially active, connecting with friends, pursuing hobbies, and
participating in activities they enjoy. A loss of interest in socializing may indicate underlying issues.

Safe and Steady Walking

Observe if your elderly parents exhibit any signs of difficulty walking, such as muscle weakness, joint pain, balance problems, or unsteadiness. Falling is a leading cause of disability among seniors, so it's crucial to address walking difficulties promptly.

If you notice any of these signs in your parents, consider contacting HomeSpark. We offer a comprehensive range of non-medical, in-home care services, including companionship, transportation, meal preparation, and personal care. Our care plans are tailored to meet the specific needs of your loved ones. Don't wait for an emergency to have these conversations with your parents, and don't hesitate to give us a call. We're here to support you and your family every step of the way. 



At HomeSpark, We Care for People

If you or your loved one is in need of non-medical home care services, contact HomeSpark today for a consultation. We will help you develop a personal care plan tailored around your individual needs.