It is oftentimes difficult to check in on aging parents. Parents often hide their declining physical or mental health and with careers, children and other obligations, it unfortunately may require a serious incident before children realize how much their parent’s health has declined. As discussed in a Next Avenue article titled “7 Signs Your Aging Parents Need Extra Help”, it is easier to manage a parent’s or loved one’s health if you can address concerns early on and not wait until an emergency. Below are a few common signs that it may be time to evaluate your parent’s ability to live independently.
- Unpaid bills. Paying bills is oftentimes one of the first tasks that the elderly lose track of. It can be difficult for children to verify that bills are getting paid. Piles of unpaid bills and a cluttered desk are one visible sign of possible decline. Unpaid bills could be a sign of dementia or just that parents are starting to need a little help with day to day activities.
- Unclean home. With a loss of mobility, many tasks necessary to keep a clean home become increasingly difficult. It is likely that parents may be apprehensive to hire a housecleaner, but a dirty and cluttered home is not a healthy living environment.
- Empty fridge. Lots of spoiled food in the refrigerator and a lack of fresh food are other common signs of decline. As day to day activities become more difficult, a parent is more likely to live off of processed, pre-made food which can contribute to an unhealthy diet.
- Trouble taking medications. While more difficult to notice, parents skipping meds can be another early sign of dementia. Additionally, taking medication irregularly can be dangerous.
- Poor hygiene. There are many possible causes for poor hygiene in seniors such as a lack of mobility or dementia. Not bathing or doing laundry due to a fear of falling is common among seniors.
- Because seniors tend to bruise easily, it is fairly easy to notice if a parent has fallen and isn’t telling you. Unexplained bruises or unsteadiness may indicate it is time for a cane or to install railings in the home.
- Dents in the car. Dementia and slower reflexes can make fender benders and swiping the side of the garage much more common. It is important to make sure that parents are safe behind the wheel. A good test is to have them drive you around.