Making the decision to explore Aged Care options for a parent is never easy. It’s a conversation filled with emotion, concern, and a deep sense of responsibility. It can feel like a lonely time, trying to figure out the right thing to do, but you’re far from alone. Many Australian families face this challenging yet important decision every day.
If you’ve noticed some changes in your parent or loved one lately, you’ve noticed your elderly parents making poor decisions lately, or if you have Aged Care questions, take a look through these common signs and see if they resonate.
- Increasing physical needs. If your parent is finding it increasingly difficult to perform daily tasks like dressing, bathing, or moving around the house, it’s a sign they may need additional support. Aged Care Residences are equipped to help with these everyday needs, ensuring your parent’s comfort and dignity throughout their senior years.
- Changes in health conditions. A decline in health, such as frequent falls, unexplained weight loss, or worsening chronic conditions, may suggest that your parent could benefit from the 24-hour support available in Residential Aged Care.
- Medication management issues. If your parent is struggling to manage their medication — forgetting doses or taking the wrong amounts — this can be a serious and critical indicator they need more hands-on support. Proper medication management is vital for their health and wellbeing, and to keep them safe.
- Safety concerns at home. Take note if your parent’s home environment no longer seems safe. This could be due to mobility issues, forgetfulness when cooking, or challenges in maintaining a clean and hazard-free space.
- Isolation and loneliness. Social isolation can have a significant impact on mental health. If your parent is spending most of their time alone, the community and family atmosphere that an Aged Care Residence provides could offer valuable social interaction and activities. Although it can seem intimidating at first, to meet new people, being a part of a community is usually a positive move.
- Cognitive decline. Signs of cognitive decline, such as confusion, memory loss, or difficulty in handling finances, are important to address. Aged Care Residences provide structured environments that can help manage these changes, and many offer specialised care, including dementia care.
- Nutritional concerns. If your parent is not eating well, either due to loss of appetite, or difficulty or lack of interest in preparing meals, it can affect their overall health. Aged Care Residences ensure regular, nutritious meals tailored to their health and dietary needs.
- Personal hygiene neglect. A noticeable decline in personal hygiene can be a sign that your parent is struggling with the physical demands of self-care or may be experiencing cognitive changes.
- Frequent hospital visits. An increase in emergency room visits or hospital stays can be an indication that living at home is no longer the safest option.
- Caregiver stress. If you or other family members are experiencing significant stress as caregivers, it might be time to consider Aged Care. It’s essential to look after your own wellbeing too.
- Wandering and safety risks. If your parent has begun to wander or put themselves in risky situations due to confusion or memory loss, a more secure and monitored environment could be necessary.
- Your parent’s own concerns. Finally, listen to your parent. They might express fears about living alone or a desire for more social interaction, indicating they might be open to the idea of Aged Care.
Recognising these signs in your parent is not an easy task. Elderly parent care can be filled with mixed emotions and a sense of responsibility towards the ones who have raised us and loved us our whole lives. But Residential Aged Care can be a positive in the lives of seniors and the people that love them.
And remember, considering Residential Aged Care is not about taking away independence; it’s about ensuring safety, health, and quality of life. And also taking care of the health and wellbeing of the carers, such as yourself, who often have families and responsibilities of their own to balance out in their lives.
If you’re considering Aged Care for your parent or loved one, a popular way to ‘try before you buy’ is to try a respite care stay in an Aged Care Residence first, to see if it’s a good fit. There’s no commitment and it can be a break for you and a holiday for your parent, who can get involved in an Aged Care Residence’s activities and meet its staff and residents.
Seeking professional advice can also be incredibly helpful. At TriCare, our Client Services Team can talk you through your options, or arrange a tour for you to come and see what we have to offer.
And if you’re unsure of how to start a conversation about Aged Care with your parent, this guide could help.