Do Your Parents Need Help? Warning Signs

November 8, 2013

One of the tough realizations we have to face in life is that our parents are aging; that our once strong and competent seniors may need help.

Following that, the next tough task is to realize when it is that they need help and to step in and convince them of it.

The burden usually falls on the family to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks.

This doesn't always 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. Often they're not willing to admit it, so how do you know if your elderly parent needs home care? 

The following list of behavioural changes may give you the clues that you need:

  • Physical Changes
    • Unexplained bruising(falls)
    • Trouble getting up from a seated position
    • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
    • Unpleasant body odour
    • Poor diet or weight loss
    • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
  • Mental Changes
    • Missing important appointments
    • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
    • Forgetfulness
    • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Changes in the House and Routines
    • Less frequent showers and bathing
    • Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up
    • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox 
    • Late payment notices and bounced checks
    • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
    • Forgetting to take medications – or taking more than the prescribed dosage 
    • Unexplained scratches and dents to ca so

Nothing is more difficult in aging than realizing that you can no longer look after yourself and that you need help. This loss of independence is devastating so denial is frequent-an unrealistic hope that a problem is not really happening and will go away by itself.

As family and caregivers of these proud seniors we need to be watchful and honest while sensitive and kind.

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