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The American population is continuing to age, and this greying of America poses numerous challenges. One of those challenges is aging in place and knowing when to bring help in. Many older Americans love their homes, homes that they may have lived in for decades. It’s a familiar space for them, which makes it easy for them to resist suggestions to move into assisted living facilities or nursing homes. However, as these older adults age, physical and cognitive challenges may make it increasingly unsafe for them to remain in their homes without appropriate assistance. 

When Is The Right Time for Home Care?

Often, loved ones struggle to know when it is time to suggest that their parents or grandparents may need additional assistance, like home health care workers. These conversations are frequently challenging to have since they are often extremely emotionally charged. The discussions are also complicated by the fact that there is not always a clear cut answer to the question of if an older adult needs additional care and assistance. The need for help may look dramatically different from person to person.  However, certain signs may give you a clue that now is the appropriate time to have this conversation with your parent or grandparent.

Signs and Symptoms 

Below, we’ll explore three of the signs and symptoms that your elderly loved one may need home care, in greater detail:

Sign 1: A disheveled personal appearance

Sometimes, as your older loved one ages, they may start to struggle with personal hygiene. As our functional abilities change, it may become more challenging to navigate taking a bath or shower. In fact, statistics suggest that approximately 1 in 3 people over the age of 60 struggle with some aspect of showering. If your loved one avoids showers or baths, this may lead to skin rashes, which can spiral out of control and become an infection. It could also lead to problems with body odor.  


One other challenge that occurs when aging at home is an individual’s ability to do their own laundry. Frequently, in older houses, laundry rooms may be in the basement of a home. As people age, mobility changes, and it can become harder and harder for them to do their laundry. As a result, they may wear soiled or stained clothes. If you notice these challenges impacting your loved one, it may be an opportunity to talk about how home health care assistance could benefit them. A home health care aide could help your loved one with baths and assist them with laundry, which could save your loved one unsafe trips up and down the stairs.

It is important to remember, though, that this may be a touchy topic to navigate. Therefore, it is essential to always be sensitive when talking about these issues. 


Sign 2: A messy house

Aging may also negatively impact a person’s ability to take care of their house. For example, a person who struggles with osteoarthritis may notice that it is difficult for them to wash dishes. Therefore, dirty dishes may pile up in their kitchen sink. These dirty dishes could pose a health challenge to your elderly loved one. It is not only physical challenges that can result in a dirty or messy house. Sometimes, self-neglect can also be indicative of a cognitive decline or memory impairment. 

It is important to remember that not everyone has the same standards for cleanliness. Some people’s homes may be more cluttered than others. Therefore, it is essential to look for changes in your loved one’s housekeeping. A sudden dramatic uptick in messiness or dirtiness could indicate a problem, and it may also mean that it is important to bring on home health care assistance. Again, these home health care workers can assist with various tasks, such as vacuuming or washing dishes. A good home health care agency will tailor their offerings to meet your loved one’s needs effectively. 

Sign 3: Late or unpaid bills 

This can be a sign that your loved one is struggling with their memory and their ability to navigate day-to-day life. Sometimes, when people experience cognitive declines, these bills can slip through the cracks. Often, this happens for bills, like utility payments. When bills go unpaid, companies can cut their service, which can have health consequences for the person. Lapsed credit card payments can also harm a person’s credit rating. 

If you become aware that your loved one is struggling to pay his/her bills on time, it is important to have a conversation with them. First, the discussion should determine if your loved one has the money to make the payments. And second, if they do have the money, but are simply not remembering to pay the bill, then there are several steps that you can and should take. First, you should discuss with your loved one establishing a power of attorney so that you can have access to and monitor their bank accounts. Second, you should reach out to a home health care agency. A reputable home health care agency can help your loved one pay their bills and organize other essential activities. 

Other Things to Look For

The three symptoms mentioned above are some of the most significant signs indicating that your loved one could benefit from home health care services. But, there are other signs and symptoms to be aware of. Three other symptoms include: (1) your loved one has numerous small health issues. Without assistance, these minor issues could snowball; (2) a lack of food and groceries in the home, which can lead to malnutrition issues; and (3) a dramatically reduced social life. Loneliness can have profound impacts on a person’s physical and mental health.

In Conclusion

The aging process can be scary, both for the aging individual and also for the older person’s loved ones. There may be signs that your loved one needs professional help, such as home health care, to help them navigate the aging process. Some of these signs and symptoms were mentioned above. If you notice any of these signs, you should reach out to us on our website to set up an initial consultation. We can offer you a wide variety of services to meet your loved one’s unique needs.