As our loved ones age, admitting the need for help is difficult. So, how will you know when it is time to provide some assistance for your aging parent? One thing is for sure, Mom and Dad will not be the ones to tell you that it’s the time!
We all have a strong desire to remain independent and control our lives. When daily living tasks become more challenging, we tend to downplay or hide any issues from those that care about us. Often, family and friends do not realize that their loved one needs help until there is a fall or a significant decline in their health. However, a small amount of early assistance can prevent an accident or deterioration in health.
If you do not want to be caught off guard, you should begin to monitor your parents’ physical and mental abilities regularly. Ideally, this should be done in person. This is also the time to research options such as In-home care or alternative senior living options. It is best to be prepared when the time comes so that you are not making hasty decisions during a crisis.
While there may be many subtle indications that your parents or loved ones need assistance, below I highlight two of the most common.
Changes in Their Physical Function or Appearance
- Noticeable weight loss can be due to poor diet, difficulty cooking or preparing meals, depression, or a poorly stocked kitchen.
- Are they wearing the same clothing day after day? Are their clothes soiled? Are their clothing choices inappropriate for the season or weather conditions?
- How is their Hygiene? Do you detect an unpleasant odor due to infrequent bathing? Are their grooming habits declining?
- Are there new bruises or wounds that may indicate falls or a decline in mobility?
Your Loved One Neglects Their Home
- Is there a change in the cleanliness or organization of their home?
- Is their home becoming cluttered or even showing signs of hoarding?
- Are their unpaid bills and stacks of mail piling up?
- Is there spoiled food or little to no food in their refrigerator?
- Does their home smell like urine? Or is furniture stained or wet? This could point to incontinence issues.
- Are there unfilled or expired prescriptions in their home?
These issues can create an unsafe home environment, increasing the fall risk. And an unsanitary home can increase the chance of illness. If you observe concerning conditions or are unsure of your parents’ situation, seek professional help.