Most people prefer to stay in their homes as long as they can. And who can blame them? Home is where they feel most comfortable and where they’re in control of how they live their daily lives. But for some older adults, living at home can become a risky proposition. They may not want to admit it, but the quality of their life is diminished by staying at home. Worse, they may pose a health risk to themselves and others, especially if they live alone or drive erratically.
Know the Signs Aging Parents Need Help
Recognizing your parents need assistance with daily activities is important for their health and safety, and your peace of mind. What are the signs aging parents need help? Look for changes in the way they move, look and act. They could signal a problem you should follow up on. You may want to schedule a checkup with their doctor. Simple changes to their home can also make life easier for your parents. In-home care or a move to personal care may also help improve their quality of life.
If you’re concerned about your parents’ health and well-being, look for these telltale signs that aging parents need help.
1. Mobility Issues
Muscle weakness and joint pain are common among older adults. As are balance and vision problems. If your mom or dad is having difficulty getting around, that’s a red flag for a serious fall, a broken hip and a move to long-term care.
- Are they struggling to sit or stand?
- Do they have to rock back and forth before getting out of a chair?
- Does sitting down seem to involve falling backward into a chair?
- Are they unsteady on their feet?
- Have they fallen lately?
2. Changes in Appearance
If your loved one isn’t looking after themselves like they used to, it could be a sign of depression, a reaction to medication, drinking too much, or memory loss.
- Are they losing weight without an obvious explanation?
- Do they look rumpled or disheveled?
- Is their personal hygiene lacking?
- Is their clothing soiled or wet?
- Have you noticed any unexplained bruises?
3. Changes in Behavior
Aging brings a cascade of physical and emotional changes, which can lead to a variety of behavioral changes. Be alert to warning signs, but it’s normal for older adults to have bouts of sadness, anger or the occasional memory lapse.
- Is your whiz-of-a-cook mother eating fast food and snacks?
- Is the yard and house being kept up?
- Are they forgetting to take medications as prescribed? Neglecting to pay bills? Missing important appointments?
- Does Dad take long naps during the day?
4. Unsafe Driving Habits
Hanging up the car keys is a tough decision for older adults. How will they get their groceries, visit their doctor or see their grandchildren? It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the alternative — hurting themselves or someone else on the road — is reckless and life-threatening.
- Do they drive too fast or too slow for road conditions?
- Do they get lost in familiar locations?
- Do they have difficulty staying in the correct lane?
- Are there unexplained dents and scrapes on their car?
- Have they been ticketed recently or been in an accident?
For many older adults, staying connected isn’t as easy as it used to be. But the importance of socialization can’t be underestimated. Staying connected and engaged reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia and depression. It may even help you live longer.
- Are your parents connecting with friends?
- Have they lost interest in their hobbies and other daily activities?
- Are they involved in clubs or faith-based communities?
- Do they smile or laugh like they used to?
- When was the last time they did something they loved?
Help is Not a Four-Letter Word
If you recognize some of the signs listed here, talk to your parents about the changes you’re noticing. Most parents don’t want to become a burden on their children, but may not want to admit they need help to cope with the challenges they’re facing. Talk to your parents, listen to their concerns and be sympathetic to their feelings.
If you decide that homecare isn’t right for you, personal care at Brandon Wilde offers as much or as little help with daily activities as needed. For added peace of mind, nursing staff are available 24/7. Your Mom or Dad can relax in their private suite, enjoy chef-prepared meals and take advantage of a full calendar of social, recreational and spiritual activities. To learn more, download our free Guide to Assisted Living.