The holidays are a time to enjoy family traditions. They can also offer opportunities to notice subtle or not-so-subtle changes in aging family members. In the midst of traditional meals and activities, evidence of decline in physical ability or memory might become apparent. Maybe the parents who used to be able to direct and participate in planning and preparations can’t follow through like they used to or maybe they’re having trouble following along at all!
Perhaps you and your siblings have been concerned for a while about how a parent is doing. How can you tell when it’s time to get help? Deb Nygaard, senior care consultant and director of development at Arthur’s Residential Care, offers this list of 10 signs that it might be time to step in to help your parent.
10 Signs That Your Parents May Need Help
- Dad is not changing his clothes between visits. Maybe you notice he’s wearing the same shirt and slacks (with the same jelly stain on the sleeve) for a few days in a row.
- He isn’t grooming or bathing appropriately, or needs help doing so.
- Mom has begun falling and refuses to use a quad cane or walker, or can’t remember that she has one.
- Bills are not getting paid on time.
- The house is not cleaned to the usual standards and garbage is collecting.
- Dad is not taking his medication correctly.
- Your parents are losing weight, are dehydrated, or one is not following a restricted diet correctly.
- They’ve left the stove on more than once, or had trouble managing their cigarettes properly. You start noticing burned pots and pans, or burns in carpeting and upholstery.
- They don’t know how to use the phone or call button for emergencies.
- They’ve gotten lost in the community, aren’t driving well, or can’t remember personal information.
All of these could indicate you need to look further into their situation and consider finding appropriate help.