Caring for aging parents can be a challenge because you never know when a problem could suddenly reveal itself. It’s no secret that as we get older our bodies start to break down, mental capacities aren’t as sharp, and there are some illnesses we may develop that can exacerbate both of these things to significant levels.
When seniors start to display signs that they are not as physically or mentally fit as they once were, it can be difficult and more than a little bit frightening. But as serious as these things may be, they’re not always immediately apparent, and aging parents may refrain from revealing that they are having trouble living at home.
That’s why it’s so important for you to know the signs that an aging parent might be experiencing some hardships living on his or her own. If you know what to look for, these signals can become a lot more recognizable, and thus, easier to address.
If your parent is exhibiting any of these signs, then you can decide on the best plan of action to help. It could involve hiring a senior care service or discussing the possibility of moving them out of their home into a care facility where they can be monitored on a regular basis.
These are the most common indicators that an aging parent could be displaying the effects of a possible serious health issue and you may want to intervene sooner than later.
The Condition of the Home
One thing to keep in mind is that your parent may not be exhibiting obvious behaviors at first, so you should look around the home. Some times your most urgent signals can be found in the way your parent is moving through the dwelling.
Is he or she having trouble navigating through hallways or rooms due to the presence or placement of furnishings. Maybe certain areas aren’t well-lit enough. Watch to see how your parent maneuvers through their surroundings to get a sense of how safe it is for them to live there alone.
You can also diagnose if your parent needs help by taking note of any recent damage that might have occurred in any number of rooms like the kitchen or the laundry room. These could also be a sign that the home is proving to be potentially dangerous for them to live by themselves.
If you notice your parent is having difficulty simply moving from one room to the next, that is a clear-cut indicator of a potential problem. When we get older, we have to contend with muscle discomfort and arthritic pain, both of which can be tough to manage and make it tough to get up and walk.
Observe how easily your parent can move about their home unassisted. Are they able to do walk around easily or do they seem apprehensive or even scared to get on their feet and move? This could be a sign they are having trouble with mobility and it could result in a trip and fall. Seniors are at a higher risk of broken bones and other health problems after a fall.
Loss of Memory
We all forget things every once in a while. But seniors demonstrating serious memory loss may have trouble remembering how to get around inside or outside of the house, misplacing items on a routine basis, even forgetting the names of friends and loved ones or places they’ve been.
These could be the first initial signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease emerging and these are major potential diagnoses that could result in the parent needing help at home.
Fluctuation in Weight
A loss of appetite could come from any number of reasons. Some seniors just don’t feel as hungry as often as they used to and certain medications can also lead to a suppressed appetite. But these shouldn’t be routine problems.
However, if you can see that your parent is losing weight it may be a far more serious problem because not eating enough is a definite sign that something is amiss. This could be due to a lack of interest in food or they are having difficulty preparing their meals, either of which need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Ask your parent how he or she is feeling. Do they seem depressed, anxious, in pain, or exhibiting some change in the way they communicate? These could be signs of a problem as well, so talk to your parent and try to ascertain the condition of their mood.