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How to Tell If Your Aging Parents Need Help At Home

Aging. Getting older. Growing more frail. They’re all unavoidable facts of life.

And as most of us move from our 40s to our 50s and beyond, we begin to see those changes taking place in our parents. For many of us, the rather unsettling experience of seeing our parents weaken both physically and psychologically, and then taking care of them the way they once took such good care of us, is yet another unavoidable fact of life.

We do it, of course, because we love our parents, and because we can’t bear the idea of anything happening to them. That’s always a possibility as seniors grow older, especially if they’re living alone without a caregiver.

But an unfortunate reality of our senior-aged parents growing older, and perhaps more frail, is that adult children often miss the otherwise obvious signs that our parents need help. There are any number of reasons for that, starting with the fact that most senior parents simply don’t want to admit to their children that they need help. After all, growing weaker and increasingly frail is nothing if not a sign of impending mortality; it’s a difficult thing for anyone to face up to. And no matter how old you may be, your parents will likely always view you as their babies; for some senior parents, asking their children for help doesn’t even occur.

But regardless, it is the responsibility of you and your siblings to pay close attention to the mental and physical well-being of your aging parents. Deducing their state over the phone can be difficult to impossible, but if you’re going to be visiting them in person over the holidays, you’ll have an ideal opportunity to look out for any of the more typical warning signs.

If you or your siblings or other relatives notice any of the following, it could be time to discuss the possibility of bring in a caregiver, or even an eventual move into a senior care facility.

Mail Is Piling Up and the Bills Aren’t Being Paid

If your parents are the sort who’ve always let the mail pile up for weeks before dealing with it, this isn’t necessarily a sign that a problem is afoot. Like every tip in this article, you need to consider each particular situation within its context.

But if your folks are the sort who’ve always taken care of bills the day they arrive, an emergency shut-off notice from the electric or gas company should act as a big red flag.

Start by asking your parents the obvious: Are they having a tough time managing their finances? Do they plan on taking care of their bills, or have they actually forgotten about them?

If it’s simply a matter of your parents’ fixed income not being sufficient enough to meet expenses, you might want to help them navigate the process of getting on a low-income payment plan through one (or all) of their utility companies.

Their Home Is Significantly Dirtier Than It Should Be

Again, if your parents have never been the type to keep an especially tidy home, it probably isn’t worth worrying too much if you notice a little extra grime in the bathroom, or a slightly higher stack of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.

But if your parents have always kept a clean home, you should certainly be on alert if you notice stacks of newspapers laying around, piles of dirty laundry in the bedroom, or crumbs and food containers covering the kitchen table. These can all be possible signs that a parent needs assistance.

And remember than an assisted living situation isn’t always the right answer. Solutions as simple as meal delivery or adult daycare can often be just the solution your aging parents need.

Signs of Odd or Inappropriate Behavior

Seniors who are beginning to develop the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia often find their behavior changing in very unusual ways—and it’s important to remember that by no means do all sufferers of dementia react to the malady in similar ways. A usually calm or kind parent who has begun acting rude or depressed is a parent you or a neighbor should keep a close eye on.

Memory loss is also a very frequent symptom of growing older, so be on the lookout for phone calls at inappropriate hours of the night, for instance, or medication that isn’t being taken when it should. Any adult parents who start to observe these sorts of behaviors in their senior parents should consider arranging for a daily volunteer visitor, or at the very least, finding an organization that will place a daily check-in phone call to your parents, just to make sure everything—and everyone—is alright.

Mobility Issues Resolved with Stairlift Rentals NJ

When seniors begin to experience difficulty climbing stairs to reach the next floor of their home, it may be time for a change in living situations, or stairlift rentals NJ or PA. A stairlift rental is a great and affordable way to resolve mobility issues commonly experienced by many seniors. Although it definitely involves a change to their home, it is a great way to keep seniors in their environment without disrupting their privacy or daily lives.

One last tip to keep in mind: Remember that when you begin to suggest some of these changes and life modifications to your parents, resistance will almost certainly rear its head. Your parents may even seem offended, and that’s a difficult situation for any adult child to deal with. As you go about the process of making sure your parents are as safe, happy, and secure in their home as possible, just remember why you’re doing all this in the first place: for love.

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