The Signs: How to Tell When Your Aging Parent Needs Help at Home

As an adult, one of the hardest things to watch is your parents grow older. The ones who raised you, worked two jobs to make sure you had everything you wanted as a kid, and the ones who took care of you when you were incapable of taking care of yourself, are now needing your help to take care of them in their older age.

Now, as you watch your parents grow older, you’re immediately going to want to help them in every way that you possibly can but if you do that, you’re going to get some push-back from your parents. In their minds, yes, they know they’re getting older but they feel that they’re not at an age where they need to go to an assisted living community or nursing home. In the mind of an elderly adult, nursing homes and assisted livings are the beginnings of the end for them so they are going to deny any accusations you may have towards them of needing more help than they think.

You have to think about it from their point of view… how would you feel if your children wanted to take you away from the home you’ve lived in for the past 40 plus years? You would feel violated and even disrespected… that’s why it’s so important to know the signs of when your aging parents just need a little bit of help with things around their home and when they need more in-depth assistance with daily living. When your parents only need a little bit of help and don’t need extensive assistance with daily living and can still live at home, that is what’s called “aging in place.”

Aging in Place

Aging in place is what most elderly adults would prefer to do… they want to stay in the environment where they feel the most comfortable. They know where everything is, they know the layout of their home, and their home is where they have the most memories… they’re not going to be willing to give all of that up without a fight. So in knowing that, it’s important for you to be able to recognize when your parents, or a parent, just simply forgot something or when they genuinely have no recollection of something you know they would never forget.

If you’ve come to the conclusion that your parent doesn’t need extensive assistance with daily living then the best way to help your elderly loved one live independently at home with minimal assistance, is to look into senior care services. The process is simple too. Once you set yourself up as a senior care employer, your parents can start receiving the at-home assistance they need.

Look For the Signs

If you’re having a hard time determining if your parents’ physical and mental state is greater or less than what you think, there’s no need to fear. It’s perfectly normal to be unsure of that. You don’t want to jump to conclusions and upset your parents by talking to them about long-term care facilities when they genuinely don’t need to go.

Instead of your mind jumping to nursing homes when they happen to forget where they left their keys, just pay attention to certain signs and behaviors your parents display… that will help you be able to better tell when they simply just need a little help at home or when they need more extensive help in their daily lives.

1.   They’re becoming forgetful

It’s pretty normal to forget things from time to time… people in their early to mid-20s oftentimes forget things more often than an aging senior. If you notice your parent’s forgetfulness happening more frequent, that could be a direct indicator of a cognitive change, according to US News.

2.   They have spoiled food in the fridge

If you visit your parents’ house and they have food in their fridge but you see expired dates on foods and foods that don’t look or smell right, they could be experiencing some visual problems or losing their sense of smell. Talk to them about the food to see if they knew that there was food in their fridge that needed to be thrown away.

3.   Their house is messy

Your parents’ house could be messy because they are having vision problems or because they’re physically unable to do some of the chores and tasks they used to be able to do to keep their house clean. If you’re able to, try to pay attention to how drastic their home’s cleanliness and tidiness changed.

4.   Their appearance and hygiene is unkempt

Poor hygiene is usually the result of forgetting to clean themselves or that they’re physically unable to clean themselves or get dressed. Offer to help them get dressed or to comb their hair and see how they react. If you can, try to go see them two days in a row just to make sure they don’t have on the same clothes two days in a row.

5.   They have to hold onto furniture to navigate around their home

If your parents are holding on to furniture to get around their home, that’s a sign that they’re having issues with holding their balance and it also means that they’v probably fell in their home before too. Try to be aware of unusual bruisings on their body, too.

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