In your role as a family caregiver, your goal to make sure that your aging parent is getting the level of care, support, and assistance that they need and deserve never goes away. Most elderly adults face new and changing needs as they age, meaning that the care that they will need to receive as they get older will increase. Being aware of these changing needs and making the decisions that are right for these increasing needs, as well as your own changing ability to meet those needs, can help you to be the highest quality caregiver you can be for your parent, and ensure that they live the quality of life that you would want for them to live.
One of the most important things that you can do as a family caregiver is to keep your eye out for changes in your parent’s condition, behavior, or living conditions that could indicate that they are in need of additional care and support. If you do recognize these increased needs, starting home care for them is a fantastic option for ensuring that they get the care that is right for them both from you and from the personalized services of an in-home senior care services provider.
Some things to look out for in your parent’s kitchen that could indicate that they are in need of home care include:
• Trash not taken out. Nobody loves to take the trash out, but it is a basic chore that everyone needs to do in order to keep the home clean, fresh, and healthy. Check to make sure that your parent’s trashcan is not overflowing and that there is not trash on the table or counters. If there is, it could indicate that they do not have the physical capability to keep up with this task, or that they are suffering from cognitive limitations that keep them from maintaining their home properly.
• Expired food in the refrigerator. Seniors have less acute sense of taste and smell than younger adults do. They also may have low vision. These can combine to make it more likely that they will consume food that is no longer good, putting their health and wellbeing at risk. Seeing excessive expired or spoiled food in the kitchen may be an indication that they are dealing with cognitive or even mental health needs that should be addressed.
• Only convenience foods. Check your parent’s refrigerator, cabinets, and pantry to see what types of food they are eating most often. If you notice a lot of convenience, packaged, or “instant” food, it may indicate a need for care. This is especially true if your aging parent used to enjoy cooking or never would have eaten those foods before. Relying heavily on these foods could be an indication that they no longer have the ability to cook properly, or that they are suffering from depression or cognitive functioning loss that takes away their motivation or their ability to remember how to prepare healthy meals.