No matter how much we try and ignore it, our parents will enter their senior years before we know it. As they reach retirement, it’s inevitable their mobility and cognitive function will begin to slow down, and as they progress through their golden years, they may begin having difficulty taking care of themselves.
Only you will know your parent inside out, so to ensure they get the help and support they need, here are some common red flags that could signal trouble.
If you visit your senior parent regularly in their home, you should know in an instant if something is up. If their home is starting to look unrecognizable and piling up with clutter, this is a cause for concern that you shouldn’t ignore, especially if your loved one usually takes pride in their property. Dirt and clutter can quickly accumulate and be incredibly dangerous for your parent, so it’s your job to take action if you believe their home is a health hazard. If your loved one’s eyesight is deteriorating, this could be the reason why they’re not keeping on top of things. The best place to start is by getting rid of clutter and helping with the housework.
Change in Eating Habits
A change in eating habits in your loved one is another worry that you shouldn’t put to the back of your mind. If you normally find fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats when you visited your parents, alarm bells should ring if you don’t find the quality and quantity of the foods you’re normally used to seeing. If there is a ton of food past its expiry date in the refrigerator, not only will this emit a foul smell but it can spoil other food nearby. What’s more, if your loved one were to eat any of these foods, they can quickly develop food poisoning and become ill. If you relate to this sign, you must take action quickly.
Unpaid Bills Piling Up
We all dread the bills coming through the letterbox at the end of the month. However, we understand the importance of paying them and keeping them financially stable. This means if your parent has a stack of unpaid bills piling up, this could be a warning sign that they’re suffering from early dementia and memory loss. One of the common signs of memory loss is losing track of what bills need to be paid.
Not Taking Medication
As your senior parent gets older, they will become frailer. In many cases, your loved one may need to take medication, so if you find that they’re beginning to skip taking doses, this may signal that they’re forgetting to do so. On the flip side, your loved one may be taking more per dose than advised by their doctor, which comes with a whole host of health risks. To combat this, you can purchase a set-up pillbox that outlines what they need to take every day.
When your senior parent greets you at the door and you notice a nasty bruise on their face, this is another red flag that cannot be swept under the rug. As your loved one gets older, they may start having difficulty with their balance, meaning they’re more prone to falls. If you spot any bruises or bumps on their body, it’s time to call for help.
Becoming More Forgetful
As your parent maneuvers through retirement, they’ll inevitably lose some cognitive function. However, if you’re struggling to have a basic conversation with them, it’s time to take action. Your loved one may begin forgetting names, places, how to turn on the television, or to lock the front door. All of these signs are concerning and could indicate dementia. If you visit your parent regularly, you should be able to pinpoint any changes in their memory.
If you visit your senior parent and find that they aren’t keeping on top of their personal hygiene, it’s time to address the matter. This could be a signal that they’re in need of caregiving assistance. Some seniors become frightened of getting in the shower in fear of shaving a slip and fall. Your loved one shouldn’t suffer in silence, so if it’s time to seek help, you must do so.
Changes in Behavior
As their child, you will notice straight away if your parent is acting out of character. For example, if they’re normally very loving and caring, and now appear cold and distant, this is another sign that they may require help. If you spot any personality or behavior changes, these are also common early symptoms of dementia. It can be difficult to see your loved one’s demeanor change so drastically, so make sure you take note of their behavior and seek assistance if necessary.
Loss of Interest
If your parent was always on the go and keeping fit and active, it will naturally be concerning if they begin to lose interest in the things they once loved doing. Whether they enjoyed seeing friends, playing a sport, or going for walks, if you’re having difficulty getting them out the house, this not only could signal dementia but depression and neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Decline in Mobility
Inevitably, your parent will begin to suffer from their mobility as they progress through their senior years. If they’re unable to perform the most basic of tasks unaided, it may be time to consider a senior living facility San Jose like Belmont Village. It can be difficult to see your loved one struggle with their mobility and be uneasy on their feet, so to retain their independence and stay positive, being in a community with 24/7 care will put your mind at ease, knowing they’re in safe hands. Should they have a fall, you can be assured they have instant access to medical help.
We all want our parents to lead the best quality of life, so if any of the above resonates with you, there are lots of routes you can go down to ensure your loved one stays happy, healthy, and safe at home or elsewhere.