It can be hard to imagine your parents not being able to look after themselves, especially when for most of your life they have been there to take care of you. Growing up, they were the strong ones who would protect you, feed you, and make everything alright. However, as time moves forward and you move into adulthood, your parents also gradually move into their senior years and things might begin to change. Where they were once strong and independent, now they might struggle to do things that used to be easy for them. They might have lost their partner, siblings, or close friends and that has left a void in their life. Or perhaps they can’t remember things as well as they used to.
Aging is a natural part of life, but at some stage, your parent might need to get some help to live comfortably and safely in their golden years. If you’re worried that this might be the case, but aren’t sure, here are some indications that your elderly parent might need care.
They Are Having Trouble with Their Memory and Are Getting Confused
Forgetting things on occasion isn’t anything to be concerned about. Even people in younger age groups sometimes forget where they have put their keys, or that they were supposed to pick up some groceries on the way home from work. If you’ve got a busy life or are feeling stressed, it’s easy to drop the ball because you’re distracted. The same goes for your elderly parents, if they are only forgetful sometimes and about minor things there probably isn’t anything to worry about.
However, if they are increasingly struggling to recall things, and they are also getting confused about who you are or where they are, this should be a cause of concern. It could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, which isn’t uncommon, and you should take them to the doctor as soon as possible for further investigation. If they are diagnosed with this condition, you will need to start thinking about organizing specialist memory care for them going forward.
They Are Mismanaging Their Finances
Poor financial management could be another indication of Alzheimer’s that you need to watch out for, but if your elderly parent is having money problems it could also be as a result of falling victim to a scam or perhaps poor mental health. They might need help going through their household bills and general finances to organize their payments better. You can help them with this yourself, but if this is a problem that is combined with other issues, you might need to think about getting some professional help.
They Are Struggling to Do Daily Tasks
When you next visit your elderly parent, take a moment to assess their surroundings. Does the house look messy or unclean? Have they lost weight? Do they appear to have poor hygiene, or aren’t dressed properly? If something doesn’t look quite right to you, gently ask them how they have been managing to do daily household tasks and if they need you to do anything for them. If they are having a hard time keeping up with chores or bathing themselves, they might need a carer to come and assist them during the week. Alternatively, they might be better off moving into an assisted living facility where they will have this type of care full-time and you have peace of mind that they are safe. You can find out more about assisted living as well as a few other care options at Frontier Management.
There Has Been a Recent Change in Their Health
If they have recently been diagnosed with a condition or their health is starting to decline generally, they might need additional help with things like medication management. You might be able to arrange for a nurse to come and visit your parent in their home to help with this, but another option is moving them into a nursing home. This kind of facility is different from things like assisted living and retirement communities because they are directed at individuals who do have health issues and need more intensive healthcare in their senior years. They will have geriatric nurses onsite and doctors who will come and visit from local hospitals and healthcare centers to help out, too.
They Are Lonely
Your elderly parent might be physically fit and healthy, but it’s important to look out for their mental well-being as well. Loneliness is a big problem in the senior community, and this is usually due to losing life partners, friends, family members, and sometimes because they don’t get to see their kids and grandkids as often as they’d like due to distance or busy schedules. If your parent has been telling you that they feel lonely or they appear to be depressed, perhaps suggesting they move to a retirement community could be a good idea? They will still be able to live independently, but there will be other people their age as neighbors that they could become friends with and social activities happening daily onsite. Some facilities are also mixed with assisted living, so if your parent did eventually need some help they wouldn’t have to move again.
They Have Had Some Falls
Another common thing that can happen with senior citizens is that they lose their balance and fall more often. As their bodies are more fragile, these trips and stumbles can result in more serious injuries that might affect their mobility going forward. Not only this, but if they fall and hit their head, or no one is around to help them and they are left on the floor for hours, this is very worrying. If your parent has had a few tumbles recently, it could be a good idea to look into getting them some care services or moving them into a residential care home so they’re not at risk of further harm.
It can be hard to discuss care options with your elderly parent sometimes, but if you are seeing any of the signs above, it might be time for that conversation. They must be also comfortable with the type of care you’re suggesting, so make sure they are part of the decision-making process if they are still mentally sound to do so. Whether it’s moving them into a residential facility or hiring someone to care for them at home, you will all have peace of mind that they are safe.