Getting older is a part of life for all people regardless of past vitality. With that said, many dads have trouble accepting their own limitations as they age. And plenty of adult children fail to acknowledge their fathers’ vulnerabilities too. Such oversights are normal and especially for families whose dads are war veterans, retired police officers, former executives, or men otherwise considered strong and independent.
Ignoring an aging father’s decline may be easier than confronting harsh realities, such as the onset of dementia, loss of mobility, and severe health ailments. But a hide-your-head-in-the-sand approach isn’t helpful and ultimately creates more problems. Here are signs dad may need a Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, or Brentwood area caregiver and ways to get his nod of approval to begin services!
Seniors battle different diseases and symptoms. But there are a handful of common signs that suggest a person may benefit from home care, including:
1) Cognitive Decline – Many people assume Alzheimer’s and dementia are all-or-nothing conditions, but an aging father’s symptoms might fall within a spectrum of severity. In fact, minor cognitive decline can present a particularly dangerous scenario since it often goes unnoticed. In other words, “Dad” may remember his name and birthday but forget to turn the stove off after cooking.
Alzheimer’s and dementia diagnoses are complicated and should be left to medical experts. But laypeople can often spot the symptoms, and families shouldn’t ignore them. At the end of the day, lapses in memory and other signs of cognitive impairment should be taken seriously.
2) Stress & Anxiety – Older folks’ lives may seem peaceful since they are often no longer raising children and in their retirement years. However, they sometimes face higher rates of stress and anxiety than young adults due to illness, physical limitations, and the afore-mentioned cognitive decline.
Daily tasks that were once easy can prove challenging as people age. These might include paying bills, showering, cooking, and keeping a house clean and in order. And for those who do suffer cognitive decline, symptoms can present in the forms of anxiety, stress, and even paranoia.
3) Falls & Loss of Mobility – Falls are considered a red-flag indicator that an aging adult needs extra help in the form of home care. A person who has fallen once is likely to fall again. And falls are a leading contributor to hospitalization and death among seniors.
In addition to falls, a general loss of mobility dramatically affects an older person’s well-being. Someone who has trouble standing and walking lives in constant fear of having a fall. So, mobility challenges not only affect a person physically, but they can take a psychological toll as well and discourage activity.
4) Hygiene & Diet – Seniors often don’t notice their own decline in personal hygiene and diet. As with many things in life, they are easier to observe from an outside perspective. But families do pick up on these patterns, and they are often signs that a person is in need of a professional caregiver. Poor hygiene and diet are usually just the tip of the iceberg representing an overall decline in well-being.
The Case for Home Care
Many adult children realize their aging father needs a professional caregiver, but they don’t think “Dad” will accept the proposition. And these concerns are quite valid, considering some older folks are, in fact, reluctant to enlist outside assistance. But there are ways to frame Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Brentwood, and Pacific Palisades home care that accurately reflect the services while eliciting more favorable responses.
1) “Personal Assistant” – Some families find their older parents are more receptive to caregiver services if they’re presented in the context of “personal assistance.” The idea is that the home care aide isn’t there to care for them like a baby or child but rather to make their life generally easier.
To be fair, this portrayal isn’t just a “trick.” Home care services, such as those provided by BrightStar Care of Marina del Rey, are broad. Caregivers can assist with a variety of domestic and administerial functions.
2) Driving & Activities – Just as caregivers act in “personal assistant” capacities, they can also serve as chauffeurs and escorts. “Dad” may be resistant to home care services initially but may later realize the freedom a caregiver can afford via newfound transportation. And older folks who are unsteady on their feet and reluctant to leave their homes for safety fears might feel empowered by having an aide who provides stand-by assistance.
3) Cooking & Housekeeping – Some fathers embrace home care in Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Brentwood or Pacific Palisades when the emphasis is on cooking and housekeeping. Many men living alone welcome the idea of having extra help for these household duties and don’t regard the proposition as threatening or insulting.
For example, “Dad” might initially agree to having a caregiver come over for a few hours in the morning to do housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation. But over time, families can introduce higher levels of service. And best of all, this approach helps ensure a caregiver is already available and acclimated should his care needs increase.
4) Companionship – A prideful father may balk at the idea of paying for companionship, but chances are “Dad” would welcome the company even if he doesn’t admit it. And older men who’ve lost spouses and are living alone are more likely to appreciate a caregiver who doubles as a friend.
As with the other approaches, it’s important that families present the companionship aspect in a respectful way that isn’t insulting. One way to do this is to describe the caregiver as an “escort” or “chauffer” that facilitates safe activity. Families can do this knowing that companionship and friendship will likely follow.
Father’s Day is usually a joyous occasion when families celebrate “Dad” and honor his contributions. But as society emerges from COVID-19 shutdowns, this year’s commemoration might be a good opportunity to dig a bit deeper. Concerned loved ones should honestly assess if their aging father needs extra help and whether a professional caregiver can improve his safety and quality of life. If so, the right approach will help convince “Dad” to give home care a shot!
If you think your aging father might benefit from home care in Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, or the adjacent communities, be sure to call BrightStar Care today for a free assessment from our Director of Nursing!