Aging is not a simple process and, when your parent or loved one begins to need assistance, it can take sensitivity and attention to judge just how much help an older adult needs. Aging is a gradual process and at first your mother or father may only require help with what are called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.

Whereas ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) are essential day-to-day tasks like bathing and dressing, IADLs are complex skills that have more to do with life in the community. When many people first turn to assisted living, they find that these are the first hurdles that need to be overcome. Seniors are often frightened when they begin to lose their independence, so it’s important to introduce help gradually. Have an open and frank discussion with your parent about hiring a PSW as a companion before medical requirements worsen the situation.

Housework – As mobility becomes reduced by conditions like arthritis or Parkinson’s, completing household chores can become more difficult. If you notice your ordinarily fastidious parent neglecting certain chores like cleaning and laundry, it may be time to bring in a caregiver. They are not just for people who need extensive assistance, but can be great companions who perform light chores around the house. This can be a great way to introduce the idea of at-home care to someone who is resistant to the idea. Remember, seniors are used to their independence, and losing it can be a frightening prospect that leads to denial. It’s best to be honest about these emotions; be patient and listen when you broach the subject.

Transportation – Driving is an essential skill that many people take for granted, but there may come a time when an older adult can no longer safely get behind the wheel. Whether it’s due to limited eyesight or reduced motor skills, driving can become a dangerous activity. Reduced mobility or cognitive function can also make navigating public transit a challenge, and having a companion to get around can keep your loved one from staying cooped up at home. Getting outdoors helps ease isolation, even if it takes a helping hand.

Shopping and Preparing Meals – Grocery shopping and buying other essentials including pharmaceuticals, toiletries, and clothes can become difficult at a certain point, often going hand-in-hand with transportation needs. Having someone around to help load the grocery cart is a great way for seniors to maintain independence without risking an injury or becoming stranded with heavy bags.

Medication – Mavencare is one caregiver agency that uses a mobile app to let family members create task lists online for visits from a PSW. Via the mobile app, relatives can receive task list updates such as completed medication reminders. When it comes to medication, seniors can’t afford to let it “slip their minds.”

Home care services from begin with a needs assessment, with which you can plan the kind of help a personal support worker will be providing. Between your career and your own family, you may not have the time and attention to assist a loved one with growing dependencies. However, there is always an option that maintains seniors’ independence and their ability to live at home. With connected PSWs like those who work with Mavencare, it’s easier than ever to stay involved in the care of your older parents. Turn to folks who understand the importance of aging with dignity.