No one wants to think that their parents have reached a stage in life that they are unable to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, most of us will one day face this dreaded reality. You may wonder how to know when it’s time to get your elderly parent extra help or when they may need to leave their home. The answer is different for everyone, but here are some signs on which to base your decision. If you’re debating over this difficult decision, read ahead for a few signs that will indicate whether or not your aging parent might need a little extra help.
If you’re seeing increased accidents or calls that are too close for comfort, that’s a bad sign. When an aging parent is having falls or other accidents that endanger their well being, they may be ready for assisted care. Also, if he or she is constantly sick or slow to recover from an illness, it may be a sign that long-term medical care is needed. Finally, if mom can no longer perform daily tasks such as dressing herself, preparing meals or cleaning the home, action may need to be taken on her behalf. Isolated incidents aren’t always cause for concern, however, if these things are repeatedly and frequently happening, it may be time to seek some outside help for your parent.
Look for physical clues that let you know some of the red flags may be an issue or eventuality. Dramatic changes in weight, either a gain or loss, may indicate a problem. Illness or depression, as well as the inability to cook or forgetting to shop may be causes for weight loss. Weight gain can often be attributed to poor eating habits, diabetes, injury or dementia. Body odor is another sure sign an elderly adult is having trouble caring for him or herself. Hygiene issues are generally easier to notice, however the weight gain or weight loss might not be detected until it is too late. If you visit your parent’s home you can see what type of food they have in the cupboards and fridge, and get a better idea of their eating habits.
Complicated Medical Care
If your aging parent has recently had surgery, has extreme difficulty getting around, is on numerous medications, or even requires shots and other medical equipment on a daily basis—this might be too much for them to handle. It might be hard to detect how well your parent is handling their personal health unless you spend a lot of time with them, especially in their home. Do they have a hard time checking their blood sugar levels? Do they often forget to take their medication or forget which one to take when? If your parent has significant medical needs, they might be past the age where they can handle their medical care on their own. If this is true, you might consider hiring a nurse who can help your parent attend to their medical needs so that their conditions don’t worsen.
Signs of Withdrawal
It’s natural for people to have fewer friendship and social contact as they age. However, if your loved one no longer wants to leave the house or interact with others, this may be cause for concern. Social withdrawal could indicate depression. In any case, an important social consideration is whether mom or dad has someone to look in on them. Whether that’s you, a sibling or a neighbor, having regular contact with others is not only a safety concern, it’s important to their social development.
These are merely a few of the most noticeable things to evaluate when considering whether your parents need to consider assisted living or other kinds of help. It is possible that your parents may not need to leave their home at this point, depending on the extent of their issues. It’s a good idea to bring in a geriatric social worker or other professional to assess your family’s individual situation. As your parents age, it becomes a sensitive and emotional situation for the entire family. You experience the difficulty of coming to the realization that your parents are getting old. Your parents have to deal the reality that they can no longer get around like they used to and may no longer have the ability to care for themselves. Look into all options possible before talking to your parents about the issue, and allow their input when deciding the best options for their care in the future. Information for this article was provided by the medical professionals of Red Cell Medical, who provide Male Luers, along with other customizable medical supplies.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters who are the inspiration for her writing.