Identifying whether a loved one needs professional care can be difficult, however, this is only the first step in a care journey. Keep up with the Vida Blog in order to understand each step of the care process. The following article outlines the first step – identifying if your loved one needs care and whether you should invest in professional care.
The UK’s ageing population
According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of people aged 100 or above in the UK has quadrupled in the last 20 years. By 2034, 23% of the UK’s population is calculated to be aged 65 and above, as compared to 18% aged under 16. Thus far, the NHS has not been able to support the demand for care which has led to family members providing relatives with “informal”.
How do you know when your loved one needs care?
When do you know that it is time for a professional carer to take over or share the responsibility of providing care to a loved one? Agingcare compiled the following comprehensive list of the signs you should look for in order to help with this decision:
- Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
- Missing important appointments
- Unexplained bruising
- Difficulty getting up from a seated position
- Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
- Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
- Unpleasant body odor
- Infrequent showering or bathing
- Smell of urine in the house
- Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
- Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up
- Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
- Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
- Poor diet or weight loss
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
- Forgetting to take medications, or taking incorrect doses
- Unexplained dents and scratches on a car
If any of these actions–or lack of actions–are evident in a loved one’s behaviour, they require some amount of professional care.
The demands of caring on family members
Besides identifying these signs, you must also take your own emotional and mental well being into account when considering whether or not to invest in professional care for a loved one. Caring can be a draining responsibility and puts a strain on family members as well. The extent of this stress led to the phrase “‘Elderly Parent Responsibility Stress Syndrome” (or EPRSS) being coined by experts in order to describe how many individuals feel when faced with the idea of caring for an elder family member.
Further, caring for a family member can put stress on the relationship you share with them. For instance, if your parent wishes to remain independent but can no longer drive or leave the home (for physical or mental reasons), imposing rules that restrict their actions could be difficult and upsetting. Thus, having a professional carer around can help ease these situations as well as allow for the seamless implementation of changes to a loved one’s lifestyle.
What type of care does your loved one need?
Once you have established that your loved one needs care, you must identify the type of care they require – a care home or in-home care. In the past 10 years, the cost of care homes has risen 10 times faster than pensioner incomes. The steep rise in the cost of care homes as well as the discomfort and inconvenience of leaving one’s home to instead live with strangers in a care home, makes the care home route unattractive to most individuals.
In-home care is the ideal option for individuals who:
- wish to stay at home but require care
- only need a few hours of care a day (with Assisted Daily Living needs)
In addition, it is also a more economical option than a care home.
Watch this space for the next blog post on in-home care!