Skip to main content
Personal Care Assistants

When Is The Right Time to Hire a Personal Assistant?

The majority of older people are healthy, happy and independent. The aging process can bring about mental and physical changes that interfere with an independent and active lifestyle.

It’s not always necessary to move seniors to assisted living facilities or nursing homes, but a decline in their functional abilities may indicate that they need extra support to maintain their independence. Families often provide supervision and support, but at some point hiring in-home care may become necessary to meet an elder’s growing care needs.

Knowing when to make this decision can be difficult, just like most other decisions in health care. You may be wondering when to get more help. Add a companion, home health aide, or personal care assistant to your team of caregivers. You and your loved ones will both benefit.

You should consider the following factors when determining if your parents can safely age at home with care.

The care needs of your loved ones are increasing

Changes in appearance or household cleanliness are usually indicative of a change in mental and/or physical status. Even subtle changes in behavior can indicate that an older person is not willing or capable of completing familiar tasks on their own. You may have noticed that Dad has a lot of unopened mail or that Grandma is no longer as meticulous with her appearance. She is now wearing dirty clothes and doesn’t do her hair. Here are two examples of real-life signs that a senior may need help at home. Some other signs are a lack of fresh food, weight loss, forgetting medications and unexplained bruises that can indicate a change in mobility.

The most common red flag that gives family members pause is deviation from personal hygiene routines. While seniors may not be bathing as often as they used to, a strong odor of urine or body odor and refusal to remove dirty clothes are signs that it’s time to intervene. If a senior’s grooming and personal care habits have declined, it is likely that they are struggling to meet their needs.

A senior’s new or worsening medical issues may indicate that they need a complete medical checkup and would benefit from additional assistance at home. Home health care providers can assist an elderly loved one in monitoring vital signs, managing chronic medical conditions, navigating their complicated medication regimen, participating in therapy exercises to improve independence and caring for wounds.

You are experiencing caregiver stress or burnout

You should be honest with yourself, your family, and your schedule if you help your loved one do their grocery shopping, household chores, transport to appointments, or manage their medication. Caring for someone is both emotionally and physically draining. Family caregivers must recognize signs of caregiver fatigue and know when to ask for help.

It is time to consider respite care when the care required by a loved-one becomes too much for you, or if your involvement has a negative impact on your finances, work, relationships and/or your health. It may be best to hire a caregiver in order to provide in-home care for both you and your loved ones.

How to start the conversation about in-home help for seniors

You should discuss home care as soon as you notice the above red flags in yourself or your loved ones. Don’t wait until there is a crisis.

Unfortunately, elder care is a sensitive topic that older adults prefer to avoid. How can you broach sensitive topics related to aging with your loved ones? All Home Health, which specializes in home-healthcare, provides the following conversation starters and tips to overcome awkwardness.

  • Ask your loved one to explain what you have observed. Ask them what they can do for you and what solutions they believe are viable. Use concrete examples to back up your concerns if a senior refuses to acknowledge the problem. Avoid correcting or arguing to dementia patients, who may not recognize their impairment.
  • Many seniors will go to extreme lengths to keep their independence. Focus on the fact that you would benefit from home care, not just your loved one. Consider the benefits of having “an extra pair of hands” on hand on a regular schedule. These services can not only reduce your stress, but also extend the independence of your loved ones and prevent or delay placement in long-term care facilities.
  • You are not speaking to a child, but with an adult. Imagine yourself in the shoes of an older adult and consider how you’d want to be treated in this situation. A patronizing tone will put older adults on defense and show disrespect.
  • It might be helpful to consult an expert on the subject. Talk to their doctor about your observations.I f your physician shares and understands your concerns, he or she will confirm that accepting assistance at home is an important part of safely ageing in place. A hospital social worker, an experienced geriatrics care manager, a trusted friend or community representative could also be a source of support. These individuals can act as neutral third parties and present the benefits of hiring a home care provider more effectively.