According to a 2018 AARP survey, most Americans aged 50-and-over want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. And although that news is encouraging, most independent seniors eventually end up with functional limitations that require outside assistance. As a concerned family member, knowing if-and-when an aging loved one needs help around the home isn’t always easy. Here are 5 warning signs that it might be time to have “the talk” about home care with your senior. 

Why Won’t Seniors Accept Home Care?

If your aging loved one is like most, they’ve spent their entire adult life managing a household and various jobs. Most older adults don’t want to be lectured by others about how to manage their affairs- especially their own children.

Many independent seniors choose not to accept home care for reasons like:

  • Denial
  • Privacy concerns
  • Embarrassment
  • Pride and dignity
  • Stubbornness
  • Apathy

Confusion and memory loss caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s can further cloud a senior’s judgment. Once your loved one starts undergoing cognitive changes it oftentimes becomes even more challenging to convince them to accept outside assistance.

Functional Limitation Warning Signs

If you suspect that your loved one is struggling with functional limitations, look for these 5 warning signs:

1. Frequent Falls 

Fall-related injuries and fractures send scores of older adults to hospital emergency departments every year. Vision changes, poorly lit hallways, and slippery bathroom surfaces are all fall hazards for aging-in-place seniors.

If your loved one has fallen several times recently, here’s how to help:

  • Create clutter-free pathways throughout the home.
  • Install handrails and grab bars in the bathroom, and on both sides of the stairs.
  • Take them to the eye doctor.
  • Work with an occupational therapist to create a safer home environment.

2. Driving-Related Problems 

Has your loved one has gotten several tickets or been involved in multiple accidents? If so, it’s probably a good idea to have “the talk” about driving safety. Suspicious dents and scrapes on their vehicle could also be a sign that it’s time to turn over the car keys for good. Before respectfully discussing the topic with your senior find them reliable transportation alternatives.

3. Neglected Business 

 Stacks of past-due bills may be an indication that your senior is having trouble managing their finances. Offer to become a custodian on their bank and credit card accounts, which will also help protect them from financial scammers. If they haven’t already done so, encourage your loved one to prepare a will and to choose someone as their durable power-of-attorney (POA).

4. Physical Indications  

Losing or gaining excessive weight, wearing the same clothes every day, and poor hygiene are all signs that your loved one needs assistance. Cognitive red flags like memory loss, confusion, and forgetfulness could indicate the onset of dementia.

If poor mobility is affecting your senior’s quality of life, volunteer to assist them around the house by preparing meals, doing laundry, walking the dog, etc. If you suspect that your loved one has cognitive impairment, schedule a doctor’s appointment for them so they can be evaluated further.

5. Not Socializing Enough

Depression, anxiety, and dementia keep many seniors from socializing as they should. On the other hand, older adults that stay socially engaged tend to enjoy happier, healthier, and even longer lives than those who are lonely and isolated.

Introduce your loved one to activities they might enjoy at the local senior center. Teach them how to use the latest technologies, like video chats, online communities, and social media to stay in touch with old friends- or make new ones. Better yet, let your loved one know how much they mean to you by calling them on the phone.

Award-Winning Home Care for Seniors in Orange County

Although caring for an aging loved one is highly rewarding, it can also be tiring and stressful. As a locally owned and family-operated provider, Colonial Home Care Services makes it easy for families to secure quality care- even with little notice in an emergency. At Colonial Home Care Services, we take great pride in carefully selecting and thoroughly screening our caregivers to ensure all have the right skills, knowledge, experience, and personality.

As a family-trusted home care provider serving Orange County, Long Beach, Mission Viejo, and surrounding communities, Colonial Home Care Services has been providing peace of mind to those we serve for over 25 years. To learn more now about our award-winning home care services, or to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in our service area today, please visit us at