Family roles change over time, especially among parents and children. For some families, these changes happen rapidly due to disease and illness, while others may experience subtle changes over the course of several years.
The sooner you recognize these changes and warning signs, the better you’ll be able to help your parent resume living a fulfilling and independent life. Bringing up these issues with your mom or dad can be difficult, but your assistance can relieve burdens that he or she may deal with every day.
Act Right Away If You Notice These Changes
It’s easy to dismiss some of the following changes as just being a part of the aging process, but they can be disruptive to your parent’s life—especially if physical and mental changes make it difficult for him or her to handle these issues:
- Sudden disorganization, including a cluttered home or neglected lawn
If your parent previously took great pride in having a spotless home and well-manicured lawn, any sudden changes in those habits could indicate that your parent is experiencing reduced mobility and even pain, or perhaps forgetfulness associated with age-related dementia. Consider helping with housework and lawn maintenance or finding reputable companies that can take care of those tasks.
- Empty pantry and refrigerator, low supply of medications
Take notice of your parent’s food supply and the amount and date of any medications he or she takes. If you notice a sparsely stocked pantry and refrigerator—or empty and expired pill bottles—your parent may be having trouble remembering to replenish these items. Try to arrange alternative ways for him or her to get these supplies, including trips to the supermarket on their behalf or utilizing delivery services.
- Irregular vehicle maintenance, unexplained dents and scratches
Driving is a source of pride for senior citizens. However, the aging process can make driving difficult and dangerous. Be prepared to discuss alternative arrangements with your parent if you notice that his or her vehicle has unexplained damage or hasn’t been maintained properly.
- Unfinished home repairs and maintenance tasks
A dripping faucet, a half-painted wall, or a burned-out lightbulb in the foyer aren’t just annoyances—they can also be signs that your aging parent may need help at home. Be on the lookout for small unfinished projects and maintenance tasks when you visit your parent’s home, as they may indicate that he or she needs help with these routine tasks.
- Unexplained bruises and lapses in personal care and hygiene
As strength and coordination deteriorate over the years, your parent could experience minor to major injuries that go untreated for long periods. Additionally, seniors who are dealing with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia often suffer from disorientation and may neglect their personal hygiene and fail to maintain grooming habits. If you notice frequent unexplained cuts, bruises, and sores—or uncharacteristic hygiene problems—it may indicate that your parent needs help with day-to-day living.
Got Questions about Assisting Your Parent? We’re Here to Help.
Adult children may feel overwhelmed when it’s time to act as caregivers for their parents. At Seniors Helping Seniors, we know this can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss with your mom or dad, but it’s important to make sure that he or she gets help with day-to-day routines and tasks as soon as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns about how to best assist your parent, contact us at (754) 202-5200 or fill out our free contact form. We’re happy to provide a free evaluation of your situation, including tips for helping your parent regain his or her livelihood and feeling of independence.