Aging is a part of everyone’s life, and as we age, some changes to our lives are inevitable. Some of the changes are barely noticeable, but others can manifest themselves in a rather troublesome way. Therefore, if some of your parents start acting in a way that’s not characteristic for them, this might be one of the warning signs for a decline in physical or mental health. Unfortunately, this is a part of aging, and it’s of great importance for you to be informed and prepared about the symptoms that will let you know that your mother or your father might need some help at home, or even be aware that one of them is in need of some type of specialized care, like home health or assisted living.
In this article, we will talk about some of the most common ways that can help you recognize if your parents need help, but bear in mind that there are many other symptoms out there, and different people age in different ways and speed, depending on their lifestyle or health, be it mental or physical. It is a difficult topic to touch, but being informed about these signs will undoubtedly help you maintain your parents’ life and well-being.
What follows are the five most common signs that will help you find out if your senior parent needs help and assistance:
Many physical cues can help you determine if your parent is in need of some help at home. If they start losing weight, it might suggest that they have difficulties eating, cooking, or buying groceries. If their appearance changes, it could be an indication of poor hygiene caused by difficulties with bathing, dressing and grooming. Lastly, body bruises are an indication of accidental falls, which would suggest they’re experiencing some balance or eyesight difficulties.
Whether or not you or your parent wants to discuss these issues is up to both of you to decide. Something simple as buying groceries or help with laundering could be of great help. The degree of help they might need depends on how often they fall or navigating through their home. If you can’t determine which level of assistance they need, try contacting their primary physician, geriatric specialist, or some other medical professional.
If one of your parents has difficulties going through daily tasks at home such as the yard or home maintenance, they would surely benefit from some assistance. If you notice dents or scratches on their vehicle, unpaid or unopened bills, or empty prescriptions, you will know it’s probably necessary for them to receive some additional assistance.
If physical activities are the problem, assisted living facilities might be one option that could be put on the table. Your loved one will surely benefit from the privacy these facilities offer their residents, as well as not having to worry about housekeeping chores. If, however, your parent is experiencing some bigger issues, a higher level of care will be needed.
Some more pronounced personality changes, such as decreased motivation or depression might be an indication of bad adjustment to aging. Having an open talk or enlisting the help of a professional might help find the cause for this change in behavior and possibly lead to a solution.
Additionally, some behavioral changes are an indication of early dementia, Alzheimer’s, or some other mental decline, like memory loss, increased confusion, poor decision-making, difficulties with daily tasks, mood swings, and personality changes.
When your parent starts displaying some of these warning signs, it is very important to talk to a professional and try to come up with a plan. Your parent can receive help whilst keeping his or her independence by using the services of memory care facilities.
Aversion to socialization
While it’s perfectly normal for people to want to be around their parents for as long as possible, and vice versa, this can change over time, and good family relationships might become harder to maintain once the emotional and physical toll caregiving gets too high.
Even though caregiving is rewarding in its own way, this can become detrimental to one’s health, because of the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with it. While caregivers can experience physical and mental health issues, the care receiver can be put in danger as well, due to improper management that could lead to injuries. If you can no longer provide your loved ones with the help they need, or if caregiving becomes too hard for you, it might be a good idea to consider assisted living facilities, as both you and your loved one will benefit from one of these facilities.
If your parent is of sound mind and able to make medical decision on their own, the decision to move to an assisted living facility can only be made by your parent, and no one else, not even a professional can force them to make that decision. Working together with your parent and getting informed in order to make the best decision when it comes to finding the adequate type and level of care needed is one of the most important things.
In situations when your parent doesn’t want to move, but you are worried about their health and personal safety, you might have to resort to a clinical capacity assessment, which includes evaluation of their mental capabilities, administered by a psychologist. If the medical professional reaches a conclusion that your parent is no longer capable of making medical decision on their own, a power of attorney, obtaining a guardianship status for you or their caregiver is going to be needed to move them to a proper facility and making sure they’re safe and in good hands.
While it is recommended for these actions to be avoided, sometimes they prove to be necessary. If possible, try to talk to your parent and reach a mutual agreement. Always make sure to respect your parent’s decisions and assure them that this is a necessary decision, and no matter how scary it might look, it is for the best, and that they will greatly benefit from it as they will be able to lead a better quality of life.
If you want to find out more about assisted living communities or memory care facilities, feel free to browse our website and get informed about the various types of facilities you can choose from, as well as early dementia signs, or some other symptoms that your loved one might be experiencing.
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