Many of us traveled home for the holidays to visit Mom and Dad. This time spent together comes once a year and is a special time, filled with holiday excitement and cheer. But, did you notice signs that something was “off” about your aging loved one?
Did Mom Seem Different This Year?
It can be difficult to recognize some of the signs that an aging loved one may need additional assistance. Many of these changes in behavior can happen subtly and gradually. Sometimes, you may not notice these warnings until later, once you have returned home and the excitement of the holiday season has subsided. It is also common to dismiss some of these clues as normal signs of aging.
Use this checklist as a starting point for evaluating your aging parent’s needs:
- Changed eating habits, resulting in losing weight, having no appetite, or missing meals.
- Neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes and having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin.
- Neglected their home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation.
- Exhibited inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at all hours.
- Changed relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concerns.
- Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services.
- Exhibited forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, piling of newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missing appointments.
- Mishandled finances, such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money. Made unusual purchases, such as buying more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements.
You’ve Seen the Signs—Now What?
We all want our parents to remain in their home for as long as possible, and seniors feel the same way. In fact, 89% of seniors say the ability to age in place – or live independently and remain in one’s home – is very important, but more than half of those surveyed (53%) are concerned with their ability to do so.¹
If a large distance separates you from your aging loved one, or if you don’t have the chance to spend time with them as often as you’d like, hiring an in-home caregiver can ensure that they receive the daily care they need. A little extra help with housework, cooking and errands may be all that the senior in your life needs, or they could need a more intensive care plan that includes personal care. Whatever the needs, in-home caregivers can be the solution to keeping your loved one happy, healthy and at home.
¹Aging in Place in America,” commissioned by Clarity and The EAR Foundation, 2007.