It is normal to stress over aging parents, especially if they live far away. Having a conversation on the phone, even if it is daily, will not give you the information you need to determine whether they need help with managing daily activities or require some other form of support.
Likely, your aging parents wouldn’t want to worry you about their aging issues when in reality, these issues could very well be signs that they need help. Even if they live close by, it can be hard to determine whether they are managing well on their own, or are just acting that way because they feel embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help.
In this article, we will look at some of the most common signs and red flags that are clear indications that your aging parent needs help, and how you can go about ensuring they get the care they need. Let’s get to it!
5 Signs That An Aging Parent Needs Help
Even if your aging parents or family members live far away, by doing a bit of detective work there are many ways you can determine whether any further support or assistance is needed.
You can ask neighbors, friends, and other family members to routinely check up on loved ones and do a video call to show you the house and your loved one’s general health status. You can also use this opportunity to discuss any concerns that they might have noticed during their visit and how to address them.
Here are 5 of the most common signs that a senior family member needs help or support.
Deteriorating Physical Health & Mobility
This is one of the most visible signs that may indicate a need for help. Signs of deteriorating physical health and mobility include:
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Changes in appetite or reduced food intake
- Frequent falls or loss of balance
- Difficulty walking or navigating stairs
- Dizziness and unsteadiness while standing or walking
- Signs of poor personal hygiene
- Unkempt appearance and lack of grooming
- Strong body odor
If you notice any of these signs it could very well mean that a family member requires help. A loss in weight or appetite can be a result of them unable to cook meals they love. Signs of an unkempt appearance may indicate difficulty in using the bathroom or a fear of falling while in the shower.
Some signs could even be more serious. A sudden gain in weight could be a symptom of diabetes or other illnesses that require immediate medical attention. Dizziness, or difficulty walking or climbing stairs could increase the risk of falls which can often lead to serious injury and cause seniors to be less mobile or not as active as they once were.
Mental Health & Cognitive Function
Sometimes an aging parent may seem to have excellent physical health but may be internally struggling on a mental or emotional level. Depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, and forgetfulness are all signs that your loved one needs help.
They may not show it, or do their best to hide it, but by keeping a close eye on their behavior you can quickly determine the status of their mental health and whether any of their cognitive functioning has been compromised. Here are the signs to look out for:
- Forgetfulness and memory loss (losing keys, forgetting names or numbers, and misplacing important items are all signs of deteriorating mental health)
- Forgetting to take medication on time or missing doctor appointments and social events
- Asking the same question over and over again or wanting to be retold the same stories
- Looking confused or disoriented
- Struggling or having difficulty with familiar everyday tasks
- Getting lost in familiar surroundings
- Depression and anxiety symptoms
- Constantly being irritable, agitated, or paranoid
Home Environment Safety
If you are unable to visit a family member’s home frequently, ask them to routinely do a video call where they show you the home or ask someone to go over and check on the home condition every so often. The state or condition of the home can tell you a lot about whether an aging parent requires help or a full-time or part-time caregiver. Look for signs such as:
- Unusual clutter and mess which is an indication that a loved one may be having trouble cleaning up after themselves
- Neglected household maintenance such as peeling paint on walls, missing roof shingles, chipped flooring, or an unkempt lawn or garden
- Any unaddressed house repairs or hazards
- Uncollected mail in the mailbox
- A messy kitchen or unsafe living conditions
- Unpaid bills and late payment notices
- Financial management concerns
- Signs of fraud or unusual spending
Lack Of Social Engagement & Activities
Seniors need to stay active and engage in activities that they love. Not participating in such activities or avoiding social engagements is a clear sign that something is wrong and that an individual requires help. Signs to look out for include:
Changes In Behavior
Another common sign that an aging parent needs help is when you see changes in their behavior. It can be hard to determine these changes over a phone call or a video chat. That is why visiting every so often and staying for at least a couple of weeks is the best way to ensure a loved one can manage on their own and be well taken care of.
Signs that you should be looking for include sudden mood swings, confusion, and increased irritability.
Senior Care Made Simple With Northwood Intouch!
Now that you know what signs to look out for it is important to take necessary steps to ensure seniors get the care, support, and assistance they need. If you have an aging parent that lives in Nova Scotia and are concerned about their well being our Intouch products may just be what you have been looking for. Our products and services are aimed at keeping seniors safe and active and giving caregivers the peace of mind they deserve.
To learn more give us a call at +1 (902) 492-3346 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org