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Home FAQ's

How Do I Know if my Parents Need Help at Home?

Sometimes it may be obvious that an older parent needs help in the home and othertimes the signs may be more subtle. So, how do you know if your parent needs senior care services and what signs can you look for to determine if in-home care may be necessary?

“Just because a parent or grandparent is of a certain age does not mean they will need help. Often parents or grandparents will not come out and ask for help directly, but there may be indicators that they could use some assistance at home,” says Julie Alicki, Community Living Program Consultant at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “When you are spending time with an older family member either at their home, or in your home, you need to be open to see if there are any concerns about their safety living alone. In-home care is often a viable option to help individuals stay independent in their own home.”

Alicki recommends looking for the following signs that a loved one may need in-home care services:

  1. Observe changes to their appearance or home.  Are their clothes clean? Do they seem or appear not to be bathing?​  Do they struggle with keeping their home clean?
  2. Take an inventory of medications. Are there more pills in a bottle than should be, based on the prescription fill date and dosage information? Also look for old or outdated medication.
  3. What is in the refrigerator? Do they have a lot of old or spoiled food?
  4. Examine their car and their driving.  Are there new dings or dents on the car that would indicate recent accidents? When riding with them do you witness slower reaction times, or other safety issues on the road?
  5. How are their finances? Do you see late notices/past due or shut- off letters or warnings lying around?
  6. Watch how they walk and get up and down. Do you see them struggling with balance or going up and down stairs? Is getting up from a chair difficult for them?

These signs don’t automatically mean someone needs help in the home, but they can be good indicators with which to begin conversations about in-home care services.  

“Most older adults want to stay in their own homes as they age and there are a number of choices for them to do so,” says Alicki. “In home care is not just for those who can afford to pay out of pocket. There are programs to help individuals with low incomes stay in their homes too.”

The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan helps older adults and individuals with disabilities live in their homes with independence and dignity. For more information on senior care services and in-home care options, visit in_home_care_options. If you are a caregiver who is looking for caregiver support services, visit caregiver_help or contact our Information an d Assistance Specialists at (616) 456-5664 or aaainfo@aaawm.org.

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Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan
3215 Eaglecrest Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Phone: 616-456-5664 or 888-456-5664 • Fax: 616-456-5692

aaainfo@aaawm.org

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