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Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Your Help

If there is one relationship in life that’s complicated, it’s the one that you have with your parents. Relationships between children and parents start with the parents in charge and eventually end up with the children running the show. Parents become older and infirm and that’s a part of life, and the struggle for them to remain in good health is evident all around you. With age comes infirmity but it’s not always clear that your parents will need your help. Parents are notorious for being secretive when they are dealing with health issues: they don’t want to tell you when things are really going wrong. Instead, they’ll keep their pain and their suffering inside so that you don’t have to deal with it. 

Whether parents need help with personal care or they just need day to day help and companionship, you are usually the one who is there for them. You’ll be the one to point out when they need a carer to come in and help with medicine management and you’ll be the one to show them that the best thing that they could do in their home is invest in stair lifts for curved stairs. Your parents are getting old but that doesn’t mean that they have to lose their independence. When you are looking at helping them and evaluating their health, an important question for every single thing that you can ask yourself is whether what they are experiencing is normal for them. Some people may misplace their wallets or their keys often, and it’s up to you to figure out whether that’s normal or not for your parents. When someone who doesn’t normally lose things starts to, it becomes worrying and it’s easy to question how bad it’s going to get. So, with this in mind, we’ve got some of the clear signs that your elderly parent needs your help – now.

Charlotte Hart, a distinguished journalist, is spending time with her family over the holidays when a real estate developer approaches their small town with quite an offer. Skeptical and looking for the real scoop, Charlotte drives to see the real estate head honcho to question him. Photo: Olympia Dukakis, Bart Johnson, Nicollette Sheridan
  1. They stop taking care of themselves. If you notice that your parents  have stopped bathing or attending their weekly hair appointments for a rinse and set, then the chances are something is going on. The chances are that your parents have spent years taking care of themselves and when that stops, you have to know if it’s an issue with depression or an accessibility issue. Making sure that you visit a couple of times a week is the smart choice, as you can then make sure that they’re keeping on top of themselves.
  2. They’ve stopped being social. When was the last time your parents called you or visited you? The change that you notice when they stop being sociable is a bigger issue than you think. Some elderly people suffer with issues that stop them from calling and seeing their friends. Sometimes, it’s to do with dementia and they simply forget that they’re supposed to see people. It’s a sign something is wrong and it’s not something that should be overlooked.
  3. They have started giving away a lot of money. If you notice that your parents are slipping cash left and right to charities and individuals, you might think about whether they are of the impression that their life is limited. There’s also the chance that they are being exploited, and you can ensure that you stay on top of it when you are talking to your parents or seeing them regularly.
  4. They’re not driving as much anymore. It comes to something when you notice your parents stop driving as much as they used to. Their reactions get slower with age, and when they’re not driving it’s a sure sign that either they’ve been warned not to drive, or they’ve decided that they shouldn’t. If your parents are elderly and they are still behind the wheel, then it might be time for a conversation about slowing down. Ask them to retake their driving test and they’ll be able to decide whether a retest is enough or whether they should stay away from driving at all.
  1. You notice they’re losing weight. If you have your parents around you, you might not notice a loss of weight at first. If you aren’t often visiting with them, the chances are that their weight loss will feel rapid and immediate. When you notice weight loss of a high magnitude, you have to help figure out whether it’s a dental issue, an illness or they simply have no appetite. Be there with them when they head to the doctor and you can then keep on top of their weight and any further losses that they cannot afford. You could also cook individual meals or arrange for a company to engage in meal delivery. 
  2. They’re forgetting their medicine. Taken incorrectly, medicines can be very dangerous. If your elderly parent is becoming forgetful, the chances are that they’re not taking their medication properly and this can lead to much bigger issues. You can organize pill boxes and hire help to remind them to take the right medication at the right time.
  3. They fell. It’s a common and unfortunate issue but as we become more infirm, the chances of a fall are high. If your parents have fallen down, they could break a bone and that can be fatal in the end. While you can’t ensure that they never fall over, you can make their house safer for them to live in. With the right aids, they could get up and down any stairs and be more comfortable with beds and chairs that can be controlled with a remote. 

As your parents get older, you might find more responsibility on your shoulders when it comes to looking after them. The problem is that this can become difficult to manage for yourself, too. Get some help to support you, and make sure that you arrange help for your parents, too. Life is going to be hard when you have a senior to look after but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be instrumental in improving their quality of life.

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