Given that the aging process is a normal and inevitable part of life, it is only natural to assume that our parents will eventually show some signs of aging. However, it’s important to remember that the signs of aging may also signal that a loved one’s health and quality of life are at risk. The seemingly small nuances that emerge early on may snowball into enormous problems later.
When is the ideal time to start a conversation with a parent about getting more support at home? Unfortunately, there is no right way to approach this problem. Nevertheless, there are a few key indicators that may be used to identify whether a loved one is in need of assistance and support.
Prolonged memory loss
We all occasionally encounter memory lapses, such as forgetting where we put the car keys or having trouble remembering a phone number. But when forgetfulness becomes a pronounced pattern and a parent frequently says, “I don’t recall,” or “I’m not sure what happened to that,” it’s important to delve a little deeper.
It is important to seek help for your loved one when things they are used to accomplishing become challenging for them. Confusion could be a sign of dementia or that a seizure occurred without anyone noticing.
It’s one thing to skip a shower or bath for a day or two, but it’s worrisome to go seven days—or longer—without washing your body or your hair. Elderly family members and friends could find it challenging to regularly practice good personal hygiene, such as brushing their teeth, taking care of their hair, and trimming their nails. There are home support services that can be helpful if there is a pronounced reduction in personal hygiene.
The American Journal of Public Health released the results of a study conducted on 538 self-negligent elderly people. They found that more than 75% of them struggled with daily tasks like taking care of themselves or paying their bills, and that 60% of them had aberrant results on cognitive and executive function tests.
Change in eating routine
A significant shift in either one’s weight growth or loss should always raise some red flags. Many people struggle with grocery shopping, making decisions about what to make for dinner, and then actually preparing nutritious meals because they lack the necessary skills. Even if that only entails reheating a meal in the microwave, the processes involved can feel extremely daunting.
Alterations in eating patterns, such as a lonss of interest in food or a depleted food supply in the refrigerator, may be an indication that assistance is required. Maintaining one’s health with appropriate eating is absolutely necessary.
Disorder in the home
Because they live in the environment, our loved ones may not realize that the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed in months, that the beds are never made, and that the bathrooms need to be cleaned. If you find that clutter, particularly bills, is piling up, it’s time to seek some assistance around the house so that the living environment can be neat, organized, and clean. This has the potential to significantly affect a person’s mental as well as physical health.
Ignored financial obligations
When we talk about bills, the responsibility of paying for utilities and other expenses could become too stressful for an elderly parent, particularly if they are on a fixed income. If you fail to pay your bills on time, you will certainly receive calls from bill collectors. These calls will add to your existing stress and cause uncertainty. In the worst-case scenario, a loved one may not comprehend why the utilities have been turned off in their home.
Reduced capacity for movement
When it comes to the safety of an elderly person, the capacity to walk, keep balance, and move around freely are key concerns. A single trip and fall could result in a series of health issues. There are safety features that can make the home safer, and it’s important to recognise when our older loved ones require extra assistance to use the bathroom, take a shower, or move from one place to another. There are resources that can help increase the safety of the house.
One in three people aged 65 and over experience annual falls, according to a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, yet only half of them talk to their healthcare professionals about it. Over 23,000 persons aged 65 and older died in 2011 because of falls, according to the results of a research done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Keep an eye out for the symptoms of mobility problems, and discuss with your parent the necessity of informing you right away if they experience difficulties walking, balance, or falling.
Bruises that cannot be explained
It’s possible that mom and dad don’t want you to know that they slipped and fell the other night. It is humiliating when we are unable to move around as easily as we previously could. Do you observe any bruising or a reduction in your range of motion? These are symptoms that an older family member may require supports to be put in place at home. These supports may include equipment to assist with mobility, as well as physical or occupational therapy to help improve stamina and/or skills to better manage the necessary activities of daily living.
Alterations in mood and behaviour
Is your mother treating you coldly? Is your father melancholy or just grumpy without apparent cause? Apathy and mood swings are two early signs of dementia that you should watch out for. You may even experience a shift in personality, going from being an introvert to being an extrovert.
The good news is that there are many different ways to improve mental agility, and some of these methods can actually prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. It is important that your aging parent consistently engages in the following activities:
- Increasing one’s level of knowledge or gaining new skills are both examples of learning new things.
- Regular, light to moderate physical activity is recommended.
- Having fun with one’s friends, family, and fellow community members.
- Maintaining a balanced diet and eating well.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of engaging in activities like lifelong learning, regular physical activity, social involvement, and healthy eating. We must strongly encourage our parents to take part in these activities on a regular basis. If they don’t, they’ll require urgent help at home far sooner.
Loss of interest in past interests and activities
One of the warning indications of depression is a loved one losing interest in things that used to make them happy, therefore it’s crucial to be aware of these signs. Depression among older people is not unusual. There are several causes that can set off a depressive episode, such as physical impairment, chronic sickness, and chronic pain. It can be depressing for once active folks to discover that they are less able to participate in the activities they formerly enjoyed as they get older.
Want to learn more?
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 1-855-410-7971, and we will be happy to help you arrange care for a loved one.