03/01/2017

When should you consider full-time care for your elderly parent?

Considering the number of centenarians in the UK has risen by 65% over the last decade (2015), life expectancy is at an all time high. Thus, there will come a time in most people’s lives when they are faced with the question: is it ok that my elderly parent lives alone? Should my parents move in with me? This can cause a great deal of stress for everyone involved, especially as a working parent who can’t afford to give their relative the full time care they may need. Assessing the signs that your elderly parent living alone is no longer safe is a crucial part of this decision process. Catching signs early will give you more time to prepare for their future care, whether this be with you or in a care home.

Serious physical impairments or diseases are both clear signs that your parent may be unable to care for themselves alone at home. However, there are also more subtle signs that indicate a decline in their ability to live independently. For example, if you’ve noticed a dramatic change in personality, such as if they’ve suddenly gone from being the life of the party to incredibly shy. Another sign is a change in personal hygiene levels, which may indicate an inability to look after themselves on a basic level.

Early signs of dementia are also a good indicator that this decision needs to be addressed. Repetition in communication or in ordinary, everyday tasks may be the most obvious symptom of early on-set dementia. However, there are many other more subtle signs. For example, subtle short-term memory changes: if they remember events that took place years ago but struggle to remember what they ate for breakfast that morning.

Significant changes in mood and personality can also be an indicator of the disease, more than an ”off-day”, this could include signs of depression or frequent outbursts of anger as the condition often affects judgment. This lack of judgment can also cause confusion as dementia often leads to an increased difficulty finding the right words in a conversation, remembering familiar faces, or interacting with people normally. Confusion can also be indicated by a continuous inability to carry out ordinary tasks such as playing games that have a lot of rules – something that can often go unnoticed if your elderly parent is living alone and you can’t be there all the time.

If they don’t show any of these early signs and seem reasonably happy and healthy living independently, but you are still concerned about your elderly parent living alone, then a personal alarm may offer that extra peace of mind so you can rest assured, knowing that help will always be at hand if they ever did need it.

If you are worried about a parent living alone and don’t currently have a personal alarm system installed, read more about Helpline’s personal care alarms for the elderly with five-star service here.

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