As your parents age, they start to feel their independence slipping away. Some seniors accept this as a normal part of life, while others fight it with every fiber of their being.
When your parents don’t want to admit to growing old, they may begin to hide things to make up for their incompetency. They will hide events from you to prevent you from thinking of them as frail, unable to care for themselves. They may begin to experience fear of being put into a nursing home or assisted living facility, and therefore not tell you about serious issues surrounding their health and well being.
Understanding what your parents might hide could help you talk to your parents and encourage honest communication.
Accidents – Any type of accident that your elderly parent has, unless it lands them in the hospital, will most likely be hidden. These accidents include falling, car accidents and even elder abuse. Your elderly parent might worry that you will want them to have 24-hour care or take away their driving privileges if they inform you of their recent accidents or experience with elder abuse.
Health Issues – The elderly often see pain or dizziness as minor health issues that they can handle on their own. They also feel that if they inform you of these issues, you will see them as a larger danger and insist on proper care for them, taking their independence away.
Money Issues – Financial issues can become serious for the elderly. Some start to purchase items that they do not need just to spend the money. Others begin gambling to pass the time. Still others fall victim to scam artists either on the phone or at the door. If finances become an issue and your parent begins to run out of money, they will likely hide it for fear that you will take away the control of their own money.
Alcohol and Drugs – Just as gambling can become a habit to fill the boredom, so can drugs or alcohol, especially if your parent is in pain. Watching for signs of alcoholism or drug abuse is important in order to keep your elderly parent safe.
Its not enough talking to them or picking them up for dinner once in awhile. Instead, visit them in their home and monitor their surrounding areas. Check the car for dings and dents. Check the cupboards to make sure they have adequate food … and aren’t stocking up on things like alcohol. And if you begin to suspect issues, even request a peak into their checking account statements or savings account balances.
And when you find problems, seek help immediately.