After being self-sufficient and independent for the majority of their lives, it’s often difficult for aging parents to admit they may need help. It is extremely important to have open communication with your parents and let them know why you are concerned and/or worried. Unfortunately, it is common for aging seniors to downplay certain difficulties and/or accidents out of fear of losing their independence or becoming a burden on their family. It is essential that you reassure your aging parents that making changes in their home or providing assistance for them isn’t meant to take away their independence, but to increase the longevity of their independence. Here are a few signs to alert you that your aging parents may need help.
Have your parents begun to forget bills that need to be paid or appointments or have they been getting lost more than usual? Maybe they may have started to repeat themselves or even putting common items in unusual places. One of the most common signs that they are struggling to remember things is forgetting to take their medications or they forget the dosage of medications. If any of these are the case with your aging parents, it is important for them to have an assessment done to help determine their options as well as available resources. Once you have a better idea of what is going on, whether it be dementia or a medical condition, you will have a better idea of how to help.
Change in Appetite
If you are noticing a change in your parent’s weight, or they are frequently dehydrated, they may be forgetting to eat or they may be eating unhealthy foods. These issues may be due to difficulty cooking, holding utensils, operating an oven or they be having difficulties with their sense of taste and smell. To verify they are eating healthy and enough, check the refrigerator for food that is past the expiration date. It is important that you make sure your parents are drinking plenty of water and not becoming dehydrated, especially during the summer months. Hiring a caregiver ensures your parents will have assistance preparing meals or you may consider contacting a meal delivery service.
Problem With Mobility
As people age, difficulties with mobility is common; however, if your aging parent is have trouble getting up from a chair or walking, they may be struggling with a medical condition, such as arthritis or hip problems. Try to go with your parent to their next doctor visit to discuss your parent’s mobility and to arrange for modifications in their
home to make the house more accessible and discuss the possibility of the use of a cane or walker.
If you are noticing changes in their hygiene, such as hair being uncombed, teeth not brushed or they are frequently wearing the same clothing, they may be struggling to shower, do laundry or even hold the comb long enough to style their hair. A lack of awareness about their personal appearance could be a sign of a physical problem, depression or Alzheimer’s, so it is important to talk with your parents about what you are noticing and if necessary talk with their doctor. An in-home caregiver would be able to assist your parent with all aspects of their personal hygiene, including bathing, shaving, brushing teeth and doing laundry.
If you are noticing unexplained injuries on your parent, such as scratches, burns, bumps or bruises, it may be a sign they are having difficulty taking care of themselves. In some situations, making simple changes around the home, such as installing grab bars, removing area rugs and clearing clutter may be all that is needed for their safety. However, if making changes doesn’t help, it is important to talk with them about getting assistance. When you hire an in-home caregiver, it will not only vastly improve their safety, but it will also give you peace of mind in knowing that your aging parents are safe and being well-cared for.