Most people who find themselves in the position of becoming a family caregiver for their elderly loved one do so because of specific challenges and limitations that their parent is facing. These are challenges that make it more difficult or even dangerous for their parent to handle the needs of their daily life without assistance. In most situations these issues will increase and even multiply as your parent gets older, meaning that it is important for you to be able to recognize when your senior might be dealing with new challenges so that you can either begin your care journey with them or make meaningful modifications to the care efforts that you are already giving them to address these issues in the best way possible.
Some of the more common issues that elderly adults face are mobility issues. This can be difficulty moving around, balance problems, shuffling or otherwise compromised gait, arthritis or other range of motion and flexibility problems, and other limitations that keep them from being able to get around and handle basic tasks safely and easily. Identifying these challenges can give you the information you need to ensure your parent has the physical support, assistance, home modifications, aids, and other tools to help them move around more safely and more confidently, and to maintain as much of their independence as possible as they age in place
Some signs that your senior might be struggling with mobility issues include:
- Home in disarray. If your senior’s home is usually very neat and clean, but suddenly you see clutter, trash or other debris across the floor, items knocked over on the floor or on the surface of pieces of furniture, or furniture moved out of place, it could be an indication of mobility issues. Your parent might have more difficulty moving and run into furniture or knock things over, and may struggle to pick things up.
- Withdrawal from activities. A senior who is having more difficulty moving around may not be as willing to participate in activities with friends and family. They might not want to admit that they are having difficulty, or might be afraid of facing injuries or embarrassment if they are not able to handle the physical activity.
- Increased injuries. When you are visiting your aging parent, pay close attention to how they look. Check their arms and legs for bruising that might indicate that they have been running into items around the house or experiencing falls.
- Decreased personal hygiene. A senior with mobility issues might struggle to get into and out of the bath safely or might not be able to move around properly to bathe themselves. This might result in body odor or other signs that they are not engaging in proper hygiene.
If your aging parent’s challenges have increased, your schedule has become busier, or your personal limitations and challenges have come to the point that you no longer feel as though you can fulfill your loved one’s needs in the way that they deserve, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting care for them. A home care provider can step in to fill any care gaps that might exist in your care routine with your loved one, ensuring that they get what they need to remain safe, healthy, happy, and comfortable as they age in place. Not only will this help your elderly parent maintain a higher quality of life and a more fulfilling lifestyle throughout their later years, but it can also give you greater peace of mind knowing that they are getting the care, assistance, support, and encouragement that they need. If you are facing challenges related to handling potentially sensitive or emotionally vulnerable tasks for your senior, a care provider can also be a neutral, respectful party to handle these tasks so that they are met effectively while maintaining your parent’s dignity and comfort.