How to Tell If Your Elderly Family Member Needs In-Home Care

How do I know if my elderly family member needs in-home care? We get asked this question a lot.

There are definitely some clear signs that will show you whether it is time to arrange for in-home care or not. It is important to know what to look for when making this big decision.


It is hard to be blind-sided by age. One day our parents are active seniors and almost overnight they are elderly and need a lot of help.

These changes can happen gradually or suddenly depending on the health of the person involved.

If you are nearly and spend a lot of time with the aging family member it should be easy to spot the signs. If you do not live nearby you may need to talk to friends and neighbors to find out how things are really going.

Remember that most people do not want to be a burden to others and they may not approach you for help.


Here are some common signs to watch for that may indicate your family member needs in-home assistance.

The more signs you see the more indication that help is needed.

  • The person has difficulty performing regular activities of daily life like dressing, bathing, toileting, walking, and eating.
  • Injuries start showing up that could indicate falls and balance problems.
  • Financial concerns arise due to bounced checks and not making payments on time.
  • The person is forgetting to take their medications.
  • Changes in personal appearance can be a sign. Things like weight loss, not keeping up with hygiene issues like hair cuts, colors, etc.
  • Confusion is a big sign that help may be needed.
  • When housework is no longer possible due to health and mobility concerns it may be time to get help brought in.
  • Has your family member started leaving the stove on, unattended?
  • Forgetfulness that results in missed appointments and activities.
  • Mood swings or depression may be signs that in-home care would be beneficial.


No one wants to find out their loved one has been injured or died due to a safety issue that resulted from them living alone and not having the care they needed.

The signs we discussed are concerns that can lead to major safety issues if left untreated.

One sign doesn’t necessarily mean there is an issue yet. The key is being observant and remembering that these concerns can snowball suddenly.

If you notice that your family member is confused it is important to follow up on these worries and not assume they are just having an off day.


If you do believe your family member is at a place in their life where they need in-home assistance, there is help available.

You can read all about every aspect of caregiving on the AARP website so you will be knowledgable about the process.

Talk to your family members and bring up the topic of in-home care to their physician.

Many senior care agencies offer evaluations to see what kind of assistance the person will need.

Blue Ridge Senior Services has a specific intake process to make it easy for families going through this transition. Call us at (540) 725-7575 to set up an assessment with one of our registered nurses.

We are here to make this process as seamless as possible. Our mission is to provide quality, affordable senior care services to those who need them.