Knowing the right time to talk to your loved one about getting extra help, or moving out of their home is difficult, and many people prefer not to press the issue. But as parents age it’s important to track and identify changes in their behavior and have plans in place to address issues as they arise.
Here are some signs that it may be time to start having the discussion:
Difficulty with basic tasks
We all do dozens of little tasks each day that we take for granted that need to be done – like grocery shopping, oil changes, or paying bills. No one likes having to do them, but the effects of aging can reach a point where they’re much harder to do. Perhaps the grocery store is difficult to manage because of a decrease in mobility, maybe appointments and due dates are harder to keep track off because of some age related memory loss or even dementia.
Chores being neglected
One way some seniors deal with chores when things start to get more difficult is simply not to do them. If your loved one is letting the dishes pile up, has a home covered in dust, an ever growing pile of dirty clothes, and a neglected yard – it’s a sign they need some help. Carrying things or moving items from room to room can get more painful and suddenly the simple chore of laundry becomes much more difficult. Does your loved one have a harder time accomplishing everyday tasks?
Frequent injuries (even if minor)
According to the CDC, 2.5 million seniors are treated every year for injuries related to falls. While not all falls result in serious injuries, minor injuries are indicative of a larger issue—such as poor balance or weakness—that could likely lead to a much more serious injury in the future. If your loved one is suffering from minor injuries, then they likely need more day-to-day help than they’re willing to admit.
Significant weight change
Eating well is one of the most basic of human needs. If your loved one isn’t maintaining a healthy weight, it’s important to address why. It could be because they’re having a hard time cooking their meals, and are supplementing with high sodium or high fat frozen alternatives. Or they could have a loss of appetite symptomatic of some larger problem.