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5 Signs Your Relative Needs Help: Recognising the Need for Home Care

Updated: 3 days ago

It can be tough seeing an older relative struggle with their daily living. It may also be hard to know when you should step in. This article sets out five key signs your relative needs help at home for you to look out for.

As well as describing these signs, our post will explain how they are linked to ageing. It will also outline the next steps to take if you think your relative needs help at home.


1. Reduced mobility

Care assistant helping home care patient

One of the key signs your relative needs help at home is reduced mobility. Older people may experience trouble with balance or changes to their vision. This can mean that getting about is more challenging than before.


Falls are a common occurrence among the elderly. According to the NHS, roughly one in three adults over 65 will have at least one fall a year. As a result, your loved one may sustain cuts, bruises, sprains or even broken bones. They may also lose confidence in their ability to get around and, as a result, stop moving as much as they used to.


These are some signs your loved one is struggling with their mobility:


  • Cuts

  • Bruises

  • Burns

  • Other marks on the body

  • Lack of confidence


A home carer can provide help inside or outside the home if your relative is struggling with everyday tasks. Just a few hours of support a week can make a big difference to your relative’s confidence.


2. Memory loss


It is normal to have lapses in memory as you age, and this does not always present a problem. But when your loved one forgets to turn off the gas or skips meals, you may start to worry about their well-being.


Memory loss can sometimes be an early sign of dementia, and short-term memory is often the most affected. Your mum or dad may remember events from decades ago but forget to have dinner. As a result, you might have concerns for their physical and emotional health.


Here are some of the signs your loved one may have problems with memory loss:


  • They forget where they have placed important items

  • They struggle with names

  • Their short-term memory is impaired

  • They get confused in familiar settings

  • They worry about getting lost


Many people with early-stage dementia can live at home with support. Dementia home care enables them to retain their independence in a safe environment and could be a good solution for your relative.


3. Changes in personality


As well as memory loss, you may notice other changes in your loved one’s personality. These may be triggered by an event — for example, a bereavement. Grief can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Your relative may become anxious or withdrawn. They may also lose interest in hobbies or eating.


Other personality changes can develop as people get older. They may not want to keep up with their friendships and activities. Or they could have difficulty sleeping or focusing on tasks.


These are some additional personality changes to watch for:


  • Mood swings

  • Changes in sleeping patterns

  • Unusual behaviour — for example, out-of-character angry outbursts


It may be hard to know exactly why an older relative has changed their behaviour. Sometimes they simply feel lonely or not as confident as they used to be. In this case, a mental health home carer can provide companionship and support.


4. Changes in appearance and personal hygiene

Carer helping patient put slippers on

Changes in appearance and personal hygiene can be signs your relative needs help. These changes can be linked to difficulties with mobility. For example, your relative may find it difficult to brush and wash their hair. Or they could be related to memory loss so that they forget to carry out personal grooming tasks.


Weight loss can be noticeable in older people too. It may be linked to a physical cause that needs investigating or have an emotional trigger. It often goes hand in hand with depression and anxiety, for example.


Other changes in appearance and personal hygiene include:


  • Unpleasant body odour because of infrequent washing

  • The smell of faeces or urine, indicating incontinence

  • Dirty clothing

  • Untrimmed nails

  • Bad breath, signalling poor oral hygiene


Personal care at home is one of the tasks that home carers can provide. It can make a world of difference to the comfort of your loved one and how they feel about themselves.


5. An uncared-for home


Maybe your relative has always been houseproud. But you have started to notice dirty dishes piling up next to the sink or piles of unwashed laundry. An uncared-for home can be an indicator that your elderly relative is struggling by themselves. This factor is often linked to other signs, such as reduced mobility or memory loss.


If your loved one is finding it difficult to keep up with chores, other problems may follow. They may be at higher risk of tripping over clutter, for example. Their environment may also affect their emotional well-being.


You should also watch out for the following signs:


  • Unopened post

  • Built-up dust and dirt

  • An overgrown garden


It is worth considering support for just a few hours a week to help your loved one. A home carer could perform household tasks to help maintain a safe and comfortable environment.


How home care can help


If these signs resonate with you, it may be time to reach out for help for your loved one. Home care (also known as domiciliary care) can assist your relative with many different tasks around the house and outside the home. It can also provide companionship and boost your loved one’s emotional well-being.


Bramble Home Care offers a range of services and packages to support your loved one in their home. Find out what we do here.


If you would like to discuss your loved one’s needs, you can book a free Home Care Consultation in the comfort of your own home at a time that is convenient for you. During this consultation, we will assess your needs and provide expert recommendations on next steps.




Alternatively, feel free to contact our friendly team using the below contact methods.


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