Our Senior Parents may need help at home and not even know it. It is often hard to tell when aging is affecting a loved one, but don’t ignore the warning signs. We remember them as robust, independent, and able to care for themselves, so it is hard to admit when they need help, although the signs are obvious.
–Your parent may be displaying signs of forgetfulness. They may forget to pay bills, mail may remain unopened, may forget to take their medication, and may forget doctor appointments, to turn off the stove, or take out the trash.
—Mismanagement of finances with incidents of paying the same bill 2 or three times, not paying the bills at all, or making unusual purchases. They may go to the bank and withdraw money and then misplace it.
—They may become more withdrawn from social interactions, stop attending church, family gatherings, routine functions with friends, phoning family/friends less often, and make excuses for not getting out.
–Another sign may be neglect of their personal hygiene and wearing the same clothes every day, and often soiled clothing. Often they will not wash their clothes and you may observe dry flaky skin, and hair that has not been washed.
—Personality and emotional changes such as becoming more withdrawn, agitated, or confused. They may have increased difficulty with memory, anxiety, and insomnia. You may notice weight loss, decreased balance, and falls.
When you observe the above signs, consider whether your senior parents may need help at home. Most senior parents want to remain at home. Bring up the topic of hiring a Caregiver in a kind and gentle manner. Encourage them to permit a meeting with a Representative or Geriatric Care Manager from a non-medical home care agency to discuss their options for assistance at home, and the cost. Often visits from an Agency Caregiver can prevent early institutionalization, or having to move to a nursing home.