Five signs your aging parent needs help
Most people don't like to ask for help, and your parents are no exception. As you see your parents aging, you may start to notice signs that living on their own has become a struggle. Indicators of physical and mental decline can be easy to miss if you aren't actively looking for them. If you suspect that your aging parents are reluctant to ask for assistance, you should be on the lookout for some key signs.
1. Physical Clues
There are plenty of signs you should consider before assuming your parents are fine living on their own. When you go to visit your parents, do you see a noticeable change in weight? Do you notice that Mom appears frailer these days? Does it seem like Dad doesn't shower as regularly as he used to? Each of these can be a red flag that your parents are struggling with activities of daily living.
2. Financial Troubles
Next time you visit your aging parents, take a look at the mail sitting around. Are bills left unopened? Do you see any letters from banks, insurers or creditors indicating missed payments? Keep in mind that mismanaging money (especially if they were financially responsible in the past) is a common early sign of dementia, and should be addressed.
3. Inability to Drive Safely
If you don't take a ride with your parents regularly, now is a good time to check on their driving. Take a look at your parent's level of distraction or signs of slow reactions as they drive. You should especially take notice if your parent makes critical driving errors such as missing traffic lights or road signs, tailgating or drifting into other lanes. It’s also a good idea to check for any dents or scratches on the exterior of your parent’s car. All of these are signs that it may be time for your parent to stop driving.
4. Difficulty Housekeeping
As your parents age, it will be tougher for them to take care of the house the way they once did. Some signs of this in their home may include piles of trash accumulating indoors. You should also keep an eye out for sheets that haven't been cleaned or a grimy bathroom. Take a look in the kitchen to see whether your parents are able to keep up with the dishes.
5. Lapse in Social Life
Are Mom and Dad struggling to keep up with their normal social calendar? While friendships do change over time (and with age), it’s important to ask about this. Do they still get out of the house? Are they participating in interests and hobbies? You want to ensure that your parents aren’t isolating themselves, as this can lead to depression and deteriorating health conditions.
If you have concerns about your aging parents living on their own, it may be time to consider assisted living. Today’s assisted living communities allow residents to retain independence while receiving the help they need to stay healthy and boost their quality of life.
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