Is There Trouble on the Horizon for an Aging Parent?

male-senior-talking-with-adult-daughterThe holiday trip home to spend time with an aging parent is something most adult children look forward to all year long. For families who are separated by long distances, it might be the one time each year they have to be together. For older adults, however, a lot can change in a year.Those changes often catch an adult child off guard when they return to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. If you will soon be heading off to spend time with your parent, we’ve pulled together a few things to watch for on your visit.

7 Signs that Might Indicate a Senior Loved One Needs Help

Here are a few warning signs that can signal help is needed:

  1. How is their physical appearance? Has it changed significantly in any way? Have they had a significant change in weight without trying? Does their personal hygiene seem to have declined? Are they wearing clothing that is appropriate for the season and time of day? Does their clothing look clean and cared for?
  2. Does their disposition seem to have changed? Are they grumpy and agitated when they never have been before? Are they tearful and sad? Do you notice a change in their sleep habits such as sleeping during the day or up in the middle of the night?
  3. Are they managing their home well? Is it clean and in good repair? Or are you noticing odors, piles of laundry, stacks of junk mail or a refrigerator full of out-of-date foods?
  4. Does it seem as if they are still able to maintain their finances? Or are they getting calls from creditors regarding unpaid accounts while you are there? Are you finding stacks of unopened bills on the counter or desk?
  5. Is your senior loved one still involved in the hobbies and activities they have always enjoyed? Or do they seem to have dropped out of favorite groups and organizations? Is transportation or money the reason or is it something else?
  6. Is your aging parent able to manage their medications independently? Do they have a list of medicines that have been prescribed for them along with dosage? Comparing what is left in the bottle to the date and quantity of pills on the label is a quick way to check.
  7. Does your loved one seem a little more forgetful? If they forget something, do they remember it later? Are they able to hold up their end of a conversation with you or do you have to repeat your questions again and again?

Talking with an aging parent about senior care or in-home services can be a tough conversation to start. But most aging experts will tell you that intervening early and finding ways to support their independence can help older adults stay safe at home longer. The best person to help you evaluate what type of support your older loved one might need is their primary care physician.

Have further questions about the warning signs for an aging parent? Please comment below or contact us for more information!