9 Signs Your Parent Or Loved One Needs A Caregiver

April 13, 2017

One of the most frequently asked questions that potential clients ask us is, “How do you know when it’s time to hire a caregiver?”  We wish that there was an easy one-size fits all response we could provide to everyone who asks us, but the reality of it is that it’s different for every person and every family. The best we can do is provide you with some vital signs to look for. Learn to spot the warning signs of when your loved one is starting to need some more support so that you can prepare.  

Weight Loss

Has your loved one started to lose weight? This could be a sign of not properly eating or taking care of themselves; it could also be a sign of depression or a variety of other issues including dementia or gastrointestinal problems. While it is relatively common and ordinary for seniors to lose weight as they age if you notice any significant weight losses it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor to make sure it’s nothing serious.

It can be disheartening when a parent, spouse or loved one isn’t properly eating or taking care of themselves. These things can often be quickly taken care of with a little love and attention from a caregiver, someone there to support them and make sure that they are getting all of the nutrition that they need.

Happy at Home has care staff trained and experienced in preparing and cooking meals.  We are able to accommodate special diets and health needs.

Hygiene and Appearance

It’s easy to let one bad hair day turn into another, but it’s another thing to go unbathed and be comfortable in dirty clothes. We all know what it’s like to have a lazy day, to stay in our pajamas and want to lounge around. That’s one thing. It’s quite another when our loved ones go days without changing their clothes or showering.

Change in appearance, bad breath, body odor, unkempt hair, these are all signs that raise concern.

Whether they are physically or mentally unable to do what may seem like ordinary tasks, it’s essential to find the right caregiver that can give them the care they need. Support with bathing & showering, hygiene assistance is vital to your loved one’s hygiene, appearance, and most importantly – self-worth. It’s really amazing what the right support can help do to lift your loved ones spirit, and maintain their dignity.

Food in the fridge

Remember the last time you went over to your folks’ house, and they had a rotten tomato in their fridge? You didn’t think twice about it. People get busy. What about that time you went over and noticed that they had old food in the fridge? No big deal. Except it is.

Sure, it’s easy to let food get bad every once in a while, but as our loved ones age, we have to pay extra attention to what it means. Weight loss is already a sign to look out for so when you have weight loss and rotting food in the fridge; it’s time to think about getting them the extra care they need. Happy at Home caregivers love helping to go grocery shopping for our clients. It’s a great way to plan out their meals and make sure they are eating fresh food.

Messy house

The tidiness of the house

We know what you’re thinking. The tidiness of the house? Oh please, my parents’ house has always been a mess! That’s a fair point. If the tidiness of your loved one’s home has ALWAYS been a certain way and there are no changes, you might not have any new reasons to worry. However, what if it has changed. Even in the smallest of ways. Sure, the house has always been messy but has it always had unopened stacks of mail on the dining room table?

The tidiness of the house, or lack thereof, is often a sign of needing support. It may not be a huge change, but any change to how your loved one used to keep their house is a sign that they may need extra support. Luckily for you, Happy at Home caregivers are equipped to support light housekeeping.

Driving issues

Okay, so they might not have sporadic driving but has your loved one had additional dents on their car lately? Have they had to call you because they got locked out of their car? Has the amount of tickets they’ve received increased? These are all significant indicators that it’s probably time to take them to have someone support them for their driving needs. Next time you have a chance, hop in the car with them and see for yourself how it goes.

Talking with a parent or loved one about driving is a very sensitive subject. Think about how independent driving lets us be in our lives. Now imagine what it would be like if someone wanted to tell you that you can’t do that anymore. It’s important we pay attention to the signs, but it’s also important to remember to look at these warning signs with love and compassion, to have empathy for your loved ones. This transition is one of the hardest for our aging loved ones.

Issues with Medications

Have you ever been to your loved one’s house and notice that they had medications all over their counter left open? Have you ever been to lunch with that same someone and saw that they forgot to take their medicine? Forgetting to take medication, leaving bottles open and mixing up medications are all warning signs that your loved one might need some extra support.

Happy at Home can support by providing medication reminders, however many times a day your loved one needs.

Pet Maintenance

Pets are everyone’s best friends; they’re the best companions! We believe firmly that pets help enlighten the quality of lives and help improve aging. Pets help seniors feel safe and provide companionship, purpose, exercise, and other ways for seniors to stay active.

When your loved one stops remembering to feed them, doesn’t give them their medications, stops grooming them, doesn’t take care of the litter box, it’s time to consider getting them the help and support they need to take care of themselves and their furry besties.

Unfinished business and forgetfulness

Forgetfulness and not following through are sometimes just the way we are, but often, when the one we love is aging, we start to see this come through in new ways. When someone’s forgetfulness begins to evolve more than just simple personality traits and “this is how they’ve always been,” it’s time to think about what that means.

Stacks of unopened mail, unpaid bills, trash piling up, and allowing for dirty dishes are all signs that your loved one may be struggling to perform daily tasks by themselves.


We all have moments of needing solitude, but solitude is different than isolation. When someone we love has disconnected from friends, family, and community, it’s our responsibilities as the ones who love them, to start paying attention and see what we can do to help. If you notice that someone you love has isolated themselves, and stopped doing the things they love – gardening, reading, going to church, etc., it’s time to consider a caregiver that can give your loved one the attention they deserve.

It’s important that you pay attention to the little things your loved ones do as those may be the signs that they need support. It might feel overwhelming but stop, take a deep breath, you’re not in it alone, we are here for you, every step of the way.

It’s hard to read about all of these signs and see them in our favorite people. It’s easy to apply many of these things to ourselves, even before we age. What’s important to recognize is big shifts in these things that defer from who they have always been. With kids, a job and your own life, we understand how difficult it is to provide love, attention and around the clock care to those in your life, that’s why we’re here for you.  Whether you need a full-time caregiver, or support to help you care for your loved one, Happy at Home is proud to offer exceptional in-home care services. Let your loved one age in grace, and maintain their independence at home.

Happy at Home is an in-home care company providing exceptional in-home care services including help with grocery shopping, errands, bathing & showering, light housekeeping, and more. Our personalized care offers peace of mind and gives your loved ones the one-on-one care they deserve. We are located in Chico, Sacramento and opening up soon in Southern Oregon. Please contact us today if we can help you or your loved one with care.  Care plan assessments are always free.