Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care has an excellent video series on how to recognize and respond as your aging parents develop more needs. This can be one of the most difficult times in your parents’ lives as well as your own. Many of us who have been there can certainly testify to that.
However, it is our responsibility as children to step in and observe exactly what is going on with our parents and to respond. This can be exhausting as well as heartbreaking if you wait too long. If you stay on top of things and get to the problems early, you can avoid disaster.
The series covers the 3 main areas you will need to concentrate on as you watch your parents get older.
1. Physical symptoms and Mental emotional changes
2. Loss of attention signals
3. Environmental clues
Video 1: How to Recognize the Need for Care
Video 2: Physical Symptoms and Mental Emotional Changes
Here are the main changes you need to look out for. These will be the most obvious and your parents’ neighbors and friends will have most likely become aware of these changes before you do.
Is your parent experiencing loss of energy? Is she still involved with social activities, church and hobbies? If not, there may be a health issue involved.
Does your mom of dad go from being happy to crying within seconds? Are they having difficulty getting up or trouble balancing themselves? What about loss of appetite? Are you hearing, ‘I’m not hungry’ too often?
Video 3: Loss of Attention Signals
Is your senior citizen parent having difficulty with good grooming? That could be a signal of dementia, depression or other health issues.
If your senior is still driving, you really need to pay attention to what is going on. Driving is a huge issue because not only is your parent’s life at stake, but the lives of others can be endangered also if your parent is impaired while driving.
Checking your elderly parents’ medications is another vital point. You need to see if they are taking their meds properly and you can do that by counting the pills in the bottles and checking the dates.
Are your parents misplacing things too often? Is their housekeeping poor? Is there spoiled food in the refrigerator?
Video 4: Taking Action and Where to Seek Help
There is hope and help. Remember you are not the first to experience old age with parents and there will be many after you. There are lots of resources and advice as well as many people who are willing to assist you with elder care needs.
Talk to your parent and share your concerns. Do your homework and have your list of needs which should be taken care of before approaching your parent.
Getting a checkup for your parent is another good idea because she may have been neglecting doctors appointments. If health issues are being ignored it’s a good idea to go with your parent. Everyone needs an advocate. You can listen and understand the doctor’s instructions as well as make sure all follow up visits and tests are scheduled.
Lastly, you can help keep your aging mother or dad safer in their home with better lighting or even by simply taking up small throw rugs so they won’t stumble. The small changes which are made can go a long way toward keeping your senior healthier as well as happier.