Age alone doesn’t determine ability. We can all think of 90 year olds as spry as when they were in their 50s, and 60 year olds that need 24-hour care.
Every situation is different. But when the question finally arises in your mind, it can cause you and your family a world of grief. No son or daughter wants to admit that a parent is now in need of care; they simply can’t provide the self-care needed to remain alone.
But how do you know when it’s time? Yes, they’ve decreased ability in recent years. Yes, they no longer can do everything they once could. Does that mean it’s time for a change?
While there is never a right time or a clear cut rule that says when the moment has arrived, there are things to watch for.
The last time your loved one had an illness, how long did it take to recover? When colds last for weeks, it could be a sign of their health starting to fail. As we age, we lose the ability to bounce back from common ailments. Even mild injuries or illnesses can become long-term drains. And what effects their health can also impact their mindset and well being.
Signs of dementia
Any sign of dementia should be taken very seriously. Forgetfulness can lead to deadly situations. This stretches beyond the standard “where are my keys” moments and becomes a regular occurrence where your loved one is disoriented and can no longer function without supervision.
We all have small issues here and there that don’t mean much on their own. But when an elderly parent begins to have accidents on a regular basis, they begin pointing towards a bigger problem. Be aware that they often try to hide it. Watch for new dings and dents on your parent’s car. Watch their walking ability to learn if they fall or stumble more frequently. You can also watch for small changes in the home; did they replace a chair because it’s broken? Are dishes suddenly gone?
Weight changes can be a sign that health issues are coming to light. This includes weight gain and loss. Some may have difficulty in preparing meals; others may simply have lost their appetites. In any case, it could signal a host of health problems or psychiatric issues that need further investigation.
Poor personal care
Be alert to changes in personal care. A parent who always paid close attention to fixing their hair or applying makeup and no longer has an interest. You should also be alert to a parent who suddenly stops brushing their teeth, bathing regularly, or washing their clothes. These red flags point to a larger problem that will only grow worse over time.
If your parent suddenly makes excuses to avoid social outings, stop attending groups they were normally a part of, and hasn’t seen friends in a while, pay attention. It’s a sign of cognitive decline or depression. As a general rule, people don’t stop socializing without a reason. The underlying reason is something that points to a larger problem overall.
Do you have questions about how well your parents are living on their own? In home care can offer a solution to allow your parents to continue to live from home, while giving you the peace of mind you need to get back your time. We can help.