Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help
When coming home to visit a loved one after being away for a while you may notice some signs that mom/and or dad may need some extra help staying independent. Little things like the mail is stacking up or the refrigerator has too much expired product or nothing in it at all, are some signs they may need help.
It is important to know the signs and be aware of them to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect and help your loved ones. Age is a tricky thing, as we get older, the days, weeks, and years sneak up on us and before we know it there may be signs that are not seen on a day to day basis. Physical and mental health decline often surprises family members, especially if aging parents seemed fine on the last visit. The key is to be aware of the small signs or problems that something may be wrong, so that your family has an inkling of health decline and can properly prepare for the future.
Signs to be aware of with Aging Parents
Denial happens by not just the aging parents, but to the adult children as well, it is hard to admit seeing signs of aging in a parent or loved one. The parent does not want to lose their independence and the adult child does not want to see the mortality of their parents. Even though it is difficult, someone must speak up and address the issue at hand; daily tasks can become too much as we age and in order to avoid serious injuries, such as, slip and falls, fire from stove being left on, or someone coming into the home because the door was not locked, something must be done.
The burden often falls on the family to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your loved one has to go to assisted living or a nursing home, but they may need some extra help in their home environment. And if they’re not willing to admit it, there are signs that your elderly parent needs help.
There are signs that there is a need for help without even having to speak to your parents, just look around the house when you drive up, do you see peeling paint on the side of the house, or an unkept yard? Is the walkway not cleared of debris and leaves and twigs in the yard? When you come up to the house do you see an abundance of newspapers at the door or inside the door with a pile of mail? Maybe the house isn’t as clean as normal or has an odor. You can usually tell when something is ‘off’.
The problem with being elderly is your health can turn very quickly from good to bad and a lot of times they do not want to bother family with their problems so they either dismiss the issues or do not discuss it with family. Because of this you need to watch for signs and speak up, do not wait until your parent says something, by then it could be too late.
Ideally, families will have conversations with their children or loved ones about getting their affairs in order and end of life care well in advance of having any issues, but here are some signs to be cognizant of when visiting aging loved ones for the holidays:
House and yard need care / maintenance
Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
Spoiled / expired groceries that don’t get thrown away
Poor personal hygiene
Cluttered, dirty and/or disorganized house
Depressed or low energy temperament
Trouble getting up from a seated position
Missing important appointments
Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
Poor diet or weight loss
Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from collections
Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
Forgetting to take medications
Unexplained dents or scratches on car
If health or happiness seems to be compromised, it’s time to have a conversation and address problems, whether it’s finding in-home care, a retirement community or a senior living community. It’s important to find the right care options for each unique family situation.
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