Over time, families may start to notice changes in their aging parents’ abilities to remain independent and safe at home. This can be an uncomfortable subject, as most parents don’t want to become a burden or lose any of their independence, but it’s important to talk to your parent about changes that concern you.
Once you start to feel that your parent isn’t safe to live at home, you should consider finding them help. In some situations, aging parents can stay home with a little extra support and resources, such as an alert system they can use to call for help or for medication reminders. HomeCare Providers of Cone Health’s Alamance Regional Medical Center offers in-home aides for just a few hours a day or even around-the-clock assistance with everyday activities to monitor and help patients stay in their own home.
Some of the signs to look for in an aging parent that needs help are: weight loss, not bathing regularly, forgetting to pay bills or forgetting medication.
If your parent needs assistance managing a chronic illness or wants more opportunities to socialize, but still wants to remain at home, they may prefer a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). PACE Centers provide a way for aging adults to see a doctor, and attend rehabilitation therapy, group exercise classes, or other social activities all in one place. The beauty of PACE is they provide a middle of the road option, so your parent can still live at home but spend time during the day at a center that provides medical attention along with opportunities to socialize with other adults.
PACE provides all-inclusive services for aging in place such as health care, behavioral health, rehabilitation, adult day health, transportation, personal care and medications.
At some point in time, your parent may need more help than they can get living at home. When considering long term care, such as assisted living, talk to your parent and their doctor about what would be best for them. Your parent’s primary care physician may be able to make a recommendation, or you can call your local senior services to see what is offered in your area. Every individual will have different needs, which is why it’s important to talk to your parent about your concerns, what help they may need, and the best way to help them.
Michelle White is the director of Home Care Providers and Alamance Cares and a member of the Cone Health medical staff. Michelle received her associate degree in nursing from Alamance Community College in 1993. She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing and her Master of Science in nursing education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2002 and 2008, respectively. Michelle is currently pursuing her doctorate of nursing practice and is a part time teaching fellow at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.