It can be difficult for elderly parents to admit that they need help at home. In some ways, it can be just as difficult for their children to come to terms with it. Realizing that the people who have cared for and supported you for so much of your life now need help to care for themselves isn’t easy. However, getting parents the help they need can often help them to stay independent longer and to avoid accidents or health issues down the road.
Just because your parents can’t do everything they used to doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be able to stay at home. Many seniors are able to age in place safely and comfortably with a little assistance. The key is to notice the signs that your parents could use some help at home.
8 Signs an Elderly Parent Needs Help
1. Spoiled food (or no food) in the fridge
What you see (or don’t see) in your parents’ refrigerator can tell you a lot. A lack of nutritious food or food that has gone bad may mean that preparing meals or getting out to do the shopping has become a burden.
2. Piles of mail
Budgeting, balancing a checkbook, and paying bills on time can become difficult for seniors. Even sorting through the mail that arrives every day requires a certain amount of decision making and organization. Stacks of mail (especially if there are unpaid bills) could be a sign that your parents are becoming overwhelmed or aren’t thinking as clearly as they used to.
It’s natural to become a little forgetful with age. But if your parents’ “senior moments” begin to have a drastic effect on their day to day activities or if their safety could be at risk, then it’s a serious matter.
Things like forgetting to take medications, taking too much medication, missing doctor’s appointments, or leaving the stove on by accident could be signs of a problem.
Some people are naturally neater than others. If you notice a drastic change in the state of your parents’ home, this could be cause for concern. Occasional messiness may simply mean that they were feeling a little under the weather, but an ongoing lack of housekeeping is another matter. It could be that the physical activity required to maintain a home is simply too much for them.
5. Unkempt clothing
Seniors sometimes begin wearing dirty clothing if they can’t keep up with doing their laundry. Wearing the same clothing could also indicate a memory issue. Activities like changing before bed or in the morning may slip their mind.
6. Wearing the wrong clothing
If you notice Mom or Dad wearing shorts and sandals in the winter or leaving the house in a heavy coat when it’s ninety degrees outside, there may be some cognitive issues at play. Even though it might seem harmless, dressing inappropriately could lead to heat or cold-related illnesses. It can also be an early sign of dementia, so it’s a good idea to discuss your concerns with a doctor.
7. Changes in personal hygiene
Neglecting matters of hygiene may be a sign of memory issues. It could also mean that keeping clean is presenting some physical challenges. Some seniors avoid bathing if getting in or out of the shower is difficult, or if they’re afraid of slipping while they’re in the tub.
8. Unexplained bruising or injuries
Aging skin bruises more easily, so an occasional bruise may not be anything to worry about. However, if you notice excessive bruising, scrapes, or other injuries it could mean that your parent is no longer capable of performing daily activities without risk of injury.
If you notice any of these signs with your aging parents, it’s a good idea to discuss it with them. You may find that they are also aware of what is happening. Or, it could have been such a gradual process that they didn’t notice any changes.
Many of the issues mentioned here could also be caused by depression or even side effects of medication, so it’s important to determine the cause as well as you can. You may even want to have a conversation with your parents and their doctor to rule out medical issues.
If it turns out that your parents could use a little extra help, there are options available. It could be that family or friends living nearby could pitch in and give them all the assistance they need. If that’s not possible, home care or a senior living community are two other options that have helped many seniors continue to live a full, independent lifestyle.
Visit the Davis Community’s Assisted Living and SNF in Wilmington NC
If you or loved one are no longer capable of living a safe, independent lifestyle, then call the Davis Community today at 910-686-7195 or simply complete and submit our online information request form. We provide exceptional assisted living and skilled nursing services in Wilmington, NC. We offer a strong and supportive environment where your loved one will feel welcomed and part of an active community. Davis Community is pleased to offer customized concierge home care services, including meal preparation and nutritional guidance, to independent seniors living in Landfall, Cambridge Village, Wrightsville Beach and Porter’s Neck, NC. Get to know the difference today — schedule a visit to the Davis Community!