Signs Your Elderly Parents Need Help

If you're one of the many people who went home for the holidays last month, you may have discovered that your elderly parents aren't doing as well as you thought they were. Now comes the hard part: trying to figure out what to do next.

Attorney Kim Kimbrough addressed this subject recently on a radio spot on 88.9 The Reach that is running throughout the month of January. Listen to the segment by clicking HERE and then clicking on PLAY on the audio file.

Here's a recap of what Kim covered.

Aging parents and their children are often in denial that there is a problem. It’s often hard for parents to admit that they need help, and no one wants to lose their independence, but the tasks of daily living can get to be too much as loved ones age. It’s important for family members and loved ones to step up and address the problem when this happens—even if it is painful. The problems will not go away and usually need to be addressed in a timely manner.

The burden often falls on the family to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that loved ones must go to assisted living or a nursing home, but they may need some extra help in their home environment. And if they’re not willing to admit it, there are signs that your elderly parent needs help.

Maybe the exterior of the house has peeling paint, or the driveway isn’t shoveled or the walkway isn’t treated. Once you enter the home, newspapers are still in plastic wrap and mail is piled up. Maybe the house isn’t as clean as normal or has an odor. You can usually tell when something is ‘off’.”

Since a health crisis in the elderly can escalate quickly and catch everyone involved off guard, it’s important to not ignore signs that something may be wrong. Ideally, families will have conversations with their children or loved ones about getting their affairs in order and end of life care well in advance of having any issues.

If you noticed any of the following signs during your holiday visit in December, it may be time to consider taking action.

  1. House and yard need care / maintenance

  2. Disheveled clothing

  3. Broken appliances

  4. Changes in mood or extreme mood swings

  5. Spoiled / expired groceries that don’t get thrown away

  6. Poor personal hygiene

  7. Cluttered, dirty and/or disorganized house

  8. Depressed or low energy temperament

  9. Unexplained bruising

  10. Trouble getting up from a seated position

  11. Missing important appointments

  12. Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks

  13. Forgetfulness

  14. Poor diet or weight loss

  15. Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from collections

  16. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

  17. Forgetting to take medications

  18. Unexplained dents or scratches on car

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