Seniors have lived a long and full life and may take pride in their independence, especially if they are still living in their own homes. This may seem like an accomplishment to them, and it may be difficult for them to admit they are having trouble with solo living. They may not be upfront with their loved ones about the challenges they are facing as they want to maintain their independence, and they do not want to worry you. There are signs to look for when assessing the degree to which your elderly loved one may be struggling. However, if you assess the signs and it turns out that it would be valuable to consider alternative options, ensure that you are including your elderly loved one in the conversation. Frame it as it being extra insurance for your peace of mind and how they are supporting you by accepting assistance. The signs to look for are pertaining to their emotional, mental, and physical health, and how those are being affected by their solo living.
The physical health of your elderly loved ones will be the most apparent and visible indicator of their overall well-being. At first, glance, having a disheveled appearance, especially one that is different from their regular grooming style, can be a physical sign of difficulty at maintaining personal hygiene. This can be a sensitive topic, so ensure you approach with privacy and empathy. Ask them what their concerns are and whether they are feeling increasingly forgetful about their nighttime hygiene. This forgetfulness can be detrimental to their ability to take care of their physical needs. If they tend to be forgetful to the point where they are forgetting their basic hygiene, then it could become dangerous, as they could leave the oven on or not lock the front door before retiring for the night.
A more serious concern may be difficulty maintaining their medical needs. There are a variety of circumstances in which overnight care may be necessary to meet the medical needs of your elderly loved one. Not meeting their needs for medication or physical therapy routine can drastically decrease their quality of life and should be addressed with haste.
Some circumstances include:
- If they are recovering from a major surgery or medical procedure
- Have a chronic medical condition that requires ongoing monitoring.
- Have a strict medication routine that requires overnight administration.
Another safety issue is if your elderly loved one is finding it dangerous to navigate at night, it may be safer to hire an overnight home care worker to ensure the health and safety of your elderly loved one. This can be especially effective for elders who have gone wandering their homes at night, which can lead to accidental falls.
Seniors who are finding it difficult to get out of bed can find that staying in bed for too long can lead to bedsores and can be uncomfortable when they are trying to use the washroom on their own. By having an overnight home care worker, they can assist in the daily maintenance of their nighttime routine and provide extra insurance for the safety of seniors who may be prone to wandering or falling.
The mental health of your elderly loved one is something that can be affected by increased solitude and a disconnection from their community. They may also feel fearful in their own home because of a sense of lack of security, especially at night. This can result in increased anxiety and depression. To provide support to a senior who is experiencing mental illness concerns, it is valuable to have a companion for them to feel a sense of community as well as a sense of security at night. To stay safe while also prioritizing the mental health of your elderly one, it may be best to hire a regular overnight home care worker who can address not only the safety issue of navigating the house at night, but also provide companionship for an elder who lives on their own. This can boost their confidence as they do not need to be forced out of their home and allows them the dignity of their independence while also maintaining the safety they are being cared for in their own home.
While it is challenging to decide when overnight care is needed, these are a few signs to look out for. Overnight care can be stressful and overwhelming for adult children who are trying to work a full-time job, raise children, and also care overnight for their elderly loved ones. Keeping an ongoing log of your elderly loved ones’ overnight needs may help inform your opinion on whether they require professional assistance.
We also recommend you check these related posts in our Home Care Services blog:
- Overnight Care for Seniors
- Strategies and Ways to Help a Parent that Refuses Homecare
- Tips for Dealing with Incontinence in Seniors