Being a family caregiver can be a difficult and stressful job for anyone. The demands of caring for a senior loved one is time-consuming, tiresome, and after a while even affects the health of the caregiver. With this in mind, it is crucial that you identify when you need help from a non-medical senior home care provider.
Unlike a nursing home or senior care facility, non-medical home care provides services to your family member within the comfortable and recognizable space of their own home. It is a wonderful way to alleviate the anxiety that often comes with putting them into an assisted living location.
Let’s take a look at three signs to determine if it’s time to get some help from a professional team of senior at home care providers.
As seniors get older, they tend to overlook and lose sight of essential aspects of daily life. While basic forgetfulness isn’t the same as caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can present issues to your loved one’s standard of living. Age-related memory loss isn’t something that happens to everyone but when it does, it can be a frustrating obstacle.
Commonly known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), this forgetfulness is typically caused by decreased blood flow to the brain which often comes with age. Other causes include basic neural lapses and a decline of the hippocampus region of the brain.
These changes occasionally lead to memory-related side effects such as:
- Frequently misplacing things like car keys, glasses, or other necessities.
- Forgetting doctor appointments as well as other tasks or scheduled items on their agenda.
- Mixing up people’s names with others such as calling a granddaughter by their daughter’s name.
- Having issues remembering topics of conversations they’ve just had or explaining things they have just read.
- Struggling to get their point across when talking to someone.
Individuals who are experiencing any of these things can benefit from a non-medical senior home care provider that can assist them with the basic tasks of their day. Anything from helping them remember scheduled appointments, making them meals, light housekeeping, assisting them with reading and other essentials.
These care providers also have the ability to contribute healthy memory practices into your loved one’s day. This can include anything from staying social and playing basic strategy games to maintaining a healthy diet and doing simple exercises like walking and cardio.
2. Activities of Daily Living
As an individual’s memory begins to decline, they begin to struggle with handling their fundamentals of life. These activities of daily living (ADLs) include essential efforts we take for granted on a day-to-day basis.
There are six basic ADLs you should be watching for struggles with when around your senior family member:
- Dressing: Trouble choosing an outfit for the day and problems putting on shirts, pants, socks, or shoes.
- Showering/Bathing: Issues with standing or sitting up to wash their own hair and body in a shower or bath.
- Ambulation: They may begin to struggle with basic mobility and have problems with balance that lead to trips and falls.
- Toileting: Struggles to make it to the bathroom in time or cleaning themselves properly once they are finished.
- Eating: Having a hard time making their own meals or feeding themselves with proper utensils.
- Transfers: Difficulties getting out of bed or out of a chair on their own.
Non-medical home care services and personal care / companion care services cover each of these issues. Having an in-home caregiver helps make your loved one’s life simpler and more enjoyable.
3. FAST Scale
The Functional Assessment Staging Test of Alzheimer’s Disease (also known as the FAST Scale) is often used when evaluating where a person stands among the moderate to severe stages of dementia. The scale is based around a 7-point score that identifies milestones related to memory loss, job functionality, and their ability to take care of themselves.
Non-medical senior home care providers greatly assist with this process and attending to your loved one’s needs and quality of life as they move through each stage. Be sure to work with a home care business that specializes in dementia care management for seniors.
The first FAST Stage represents an individual with full cognitive function and little to no need for assistance. They are generally considered healthy, capable adults.
The second stage begins with mild cognitive impairment as mentioned above regarding forgetfulness. The person will start to have trouble remembering where they put things and other issues with memory loss.
The third stage on the FAST Scale is considered early dementia. Memory impairment is more predominant and becomes apparent to friends, family members, and co-workers. Senior at home care providers or personal caregivers become a necessity at this point.
Mild dementia and memory loss increases into stage four as the individual begins to struggle with their finances, traveling to unfamiliar places, and remembering current or recent events.
As an individual reaches stage five, they have moderate dementia and need additional assistance with the basics of everyday life such as choosing what to wear and getting dressed. At this point, they begin to forget major pieces of information like the current date and where they live.
Once a senior gets to the sixth stage, they are considered to have moderately severe dementia. They start to forget their friends’ and family members’ names, as well as their own.
Stage six is where older adults generally need assistance with the ADLs mentioned previously. They also begin to have hallucinations and delusions, as well as develop obsessions with random topics. Oftentimes, they will also stay awake during the night and sleep throughout the day.
As they progress into stage 7, most have reached severe dementia or Alzheimer’s. They lose the ability to speak, walk, and also lose urinary and bowel control. By stage 7, your loved one should only be staying in the home as long as there is skilled nursing personnel on hand.
Individuals with a FAST Score between 1 and 5 will generally benefit from a senior home care provider. Though as they move into the 6 or 7 range, you will want to incorporate a home health care professional into the mix as well.
Is It Time to Hire a Non-Medical Home Care Provider?
Based on these factors, do you think your senior family member could benefit from non-medical home care? Do they seem to be struggling with memory loss, their ADLs, and are showing signs of progressing through the FAST Scale? It may be time to consider your options with elder care.
We can provide respite care (or a temporary break from caregiving) to help improve the quality of life of your family.