Human beings are born with an urge for independence and self-sufficiency, and they never outlive it. So when challenges of aging at home start becoming a bit too much for your parents, they often hate to admit it – not only to their children, but also to themselves.
It can be a vicious cycle: Feelings of isolation and loneliness can lead to depression, which could lead to decline and early dementia, which could lead to deeper depression…
Early dementia can be tricky and hard to spot, so when you’re with your aging parents, here are seven danger signs to look out for:
- Skipped meds – Check your parents’ pill boxes to see if they’ve missed a daily dose or two. Missing doses can be life-threatening. So can taking too many doses at a time to make up a missed dose.
- Unpaid bills piling up – Paying bills is one of the first chores that aging parents lose track of. Piles of unpaid bills can be a sign of early dementia or of disorganization.
- A grimy, messy house – As aging people lose mobility and vision, regular household tasks and tidying up get harder. When it’s hard to bend, it’s easy to let things that fall to the floor stay there. But a cluttered house can be a tripping hazard, leading to falls, broken bones, surgery, and extended rehab.
- What’s in the fridge, and what isn’t – The presence of spoiled or spoiling food in the refrigerator, or the absence of fresh foods like fruits, veggies and meat, can be a sign that taking care of themselves is getting harder. So is unexplained weight loss.
- A certain odor – Mobility issues, dementia or difficulty keeping up with laundry can lead older people to downgrade personal hygiene. Fear of falling can lead aging seniors to skip showers, and a lack of personal hygiene may result in urinary tract infections.
- Unexplained bruises – Seniors bruise more easily, so bruises on a parent’s arm or leg may be signs of falls. Holding onto walls or furniture as they walk through the house can be a sign they’re unsteady on their feet and could use a cane or walker.
- New dings and dents in the car – The older we get, the slower our reaction time, and the harder it gets to turn our heads to check blind spots. Signs of little fender-benders may mean it’s time for anything from blind-spot mirrors to senior driving classes to an Uber or Lyft account.
Spotting one or more of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean your parents need assisted living. Our detailed, person-centered, three-part needs assessment determines where they need help – and just as important, where they don’t. Since we objectively plan and manage senior care, we don’t have standard packages of services to sell you. Instead, we can recommend and arrange for the specific help at home your parents need – whether it’s bill-paying, light housekeeping, shopping assistance, home safety appliances, driving or whatever. That way, your parents save money and preserve their independence.
So please contact us for a free 30-minute consultation and see what a difference it can make in your parents’ health, safety and happiness.