The Five Signs Your Aging Parents Need Help At Home

Many adult children miss the subtle hints that mom and dad might need help at home. Parents tend to hide their difficulties from their children because they want to live independently. Children don’t like to think about their parents getting old. It often takes a major health event like cancer, a heart attack, or a stroke before the parents and children recognize that professional help is needed at home.

You cannot always tell there is a problem just from telephone conversations or email correspondence. If you’re home for the holidays, this is an excellent time to “check in” with them to see how they are handling tasks around the house.

Here are some of the signs your parents might need help.

1.  They’re getting behind on their bills.

If your parents have always Caring for your parenthandled money well, but suddenly get behind on their electric bill, figure out why this is happening. Seniors often incur higher medical bills than the average person, so they could be having trouble meeting their financial obligations. Do not be afraid to ask specific questions about their finances even if you feel it is not any of your business. By asking these questions, you should be able to tell if they are really having trouble meeting their financial obligations or if there are other mental challenges they are facing.

2. Your parents eating habits change.

Pay attention to how often your parents cook dinner. If they used to cook big nutritious meals, but now eat microwave dinners, it could be an indication they don’t have the stamina to cook a large meal anymore. Casually open the refrigerator and the cabinets to see what your mom and dad are buying at the grocery store. Talk about cooking with your parents, and see how they respond. This is a great way to see how they are doing without asking direct questions about their eating habits.

3.  Damage On the vehicles.

You might not be with your parents when they’re driving, but you will notice if there is damage on any of their vehicles. If any of their cars are dented, see if your mom or dad can tell you how and when the accident occurred. Pay attention to clues they may not be as alert behind the wheel. If they won’t drive at night anymore, it could be a sign their vision is failing. Your parents might not tell you they have been in three accidents in a year, but they might tell you how their car insurance rates keep going up if you talk about your own auto insurance policy.

4.  Stained floor or carpets that haven’t been cleaned up.

When visiting the home, see if the floors and carpets are clean. Are there stains on the carpet from the pets? Have the floors been mopped recently? If they have limited mobility, they will have a hard time keeping the floors clean. Vacuuming becomes a huge hassle if you are tired all of the time. Another subtle clue that mobility is becoming an issue is when they want to hire a cleaning service to help with basic chores around the home.

5.  Bruising

Senior citizens want their loved ones to believe they can manage well on their own. They may not tell you about falling in the bathtub or on the stairs. If you notice any unusual scratches or bruises, ask your parents about it. Bruises could be a sign of increasing trouble with balance or mobility. If they don’t want to walk long distances anymore, this could be another sign of balance issues.

You need to be proactive in monitoring the health of your parents as they reach their senior years. If your mom or dad is beginning to show the early signs of dementia, they may not be mentally capable of living independently in the home. Do not assume that moving your parents into an assisted living facility is your only option. Home services may involve physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, nurses, and social workers. There are also Meals on Wheels programs and adult day care. Many modifications can be made to an existing home to help assist seniors with mobility issues. Once you understand your parent’s physical, emotional, and mental limitations, you can make an informed decision on the best course of action to address their needs.

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