Signs your parent needs help at home

Signs your parent needs help at home

Does Dad look thinner? Is mail stacked up by Mom's front door?

These may be signs your parent needs extra help at home.

Or, these signs may be pointing to larger issues like depression or dementia.

Ignoring problems now could lead to bigger issues later, like taking over financial matters for Mom or Dad, or helping them to heal after a fall.

Signs your parent might need help:

  • Bruises, which might signal they've experienced a fall or have poor balance
  • Weight loss, which could be because of a poor appetite, or an inability to prepare food or go grocery shopping
  • Poor hygiene and cleanliness, which may be because of depression or an inability to complete routine tasks
  • Unpaid bills, which could indicate depression, issues with memory, or overwhelming but undisclosed financial circumstances
  • Uneaten and spoiled foods in the refrigerator, which could be because of memory lapses or a poor appetite due to illness
  • Expired or unused prescriptions, which may mean issues with memory or a refusal to comply with a physician's care plan
Women hanging laundry on a clothesline

5 things you can do to help:

  1. Talk to your parent's physician: What are your biggest worries? Forgetfulness about taking medication? Falls? Share your concerns with a doctor and ask for assessments to begin the process of pursuing the right type of care.
  2. Get involved: Running errands, preparing meals or paying bills together can give you a better sense of what's going on around the house while keeping your parent safe and healthy. It's also a way to note issues before speaking with a physician or enlisting long-term care services.
  3. Consider home care: Whether it's weekly help around the house or daily visits to check medical issues, there are many home care options to meet your parent's immediate health and security needs.
  4. Tap area agencies to pitch in: In addition to home care, consider additional support options such as adult day services, local senior center programming and activities, or Meals on Wheels deliveries.
  5. Make the home safe: Depending on your level of comfort with your parent's health and a physician's advice, consider adding grab bars in the bathroom, uncluttering the home and taking other steps that can keep your parent from physical harm.

Concerned about your mom or dad? We're here to help.

Additional resources: AARP, Mayo Clinic, Next Avenue

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