Radfield Homecare

Signs that a parent needs care

For a person who is growing older and trying to deal with physical and health limitations, asking for help can feel like too much of a burden to place on their family. Instead, telling family that everything is ‘fine’ and ‘okay’, when in fact they are struggling to manage.

Therefore, it’s essential we watch out for our parents as they age to monitor the subtle changes and signs that indicate they need help, so that they don’t have to ask. Also, to understand that not everyone is able or willing to accept that they can’t manage alone, especially in the early stages of mental decline.

By starting with gentle levels of home care, such as shopping or housework twice a week and gradually increasing it over time, it is usually easier to accept than a higher level of care that may have to be put in in short notice in response to a crisis such as a fall or illness.

Any of the following are signs that your parent or older relative needs some level of care support:

Emotional changes

  • Loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed.
  • Withdrawn and avoiding friends and family.
  • Mood swings, such as being hyper-excited to tearful.
  • Agitated or aggressive, and angry behaviour.
  • Depressed, no interest in anything or talking slowly/quietly.

Physical changes

  • Sleeping during the day with little energy.
  • Difficulty walking or getting out of a chair.
  • Unexplained bruises and injuries.
  • Weight loss or lack of appetite.

Mental status

  • No awareness of time.
  • Confusion over simple tasks.
  • Missing appointments.
  • Becoming secretive.

Personal care changes

  • Unwashed hair, uncleaned teeth or dirty nails.
  • Unkempt appearance.
  • Dirty and stained clothes.
  • Noticeable body odour or smell of urine.

Changes around the house

  • An untidy kitchen with dirty dishes pilling up.
  • Dirty or cluttered surfaces.
  • No fresh food or rotting food in the fridge.
  • Dirty plates and mouldy dishes left around the house.
  • Unopened mail or newspapers stacking up.
  • Missed payments for bills and utilities turned off.
  • Bedlinen not being washed regularly.

It’s not an easy conversation to have with a parent when they appear to be in decline and in need of care support, and you may experience resistance. Radfield can support you to broach the subject of introducing home care.

Firstly, we recommend reading How to discuss care needs for advice on how you can talk to someone close to you.

Secondly, one of our experienced care managers can help you to talk to a parent or relative about how introducing a low level of home care can have a positive impact on quality of life and offer more independence.

However, if someone close to you is showing any signs of mental decline and confusion in the first instance you should talk to their doctor.


Read next:

  1. How to discuss care needs – a guide to help you broach the subject.
  2. What sort of care do I need? – an overview of the different levels of support.
  3. Contact your local office for our advice and support in arranging home care support.