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The Top Three Signs Your Aging Parents Need Help

adult daughter gently clasping the hands of her senior mother as they sit on the couch together

Parents are our guideposts in life. They’ve spent most of their lives taking care of us, but what happens when you start to notice the roles are reversing?

It can be difficult as adult children to watch Mom or Dad age before your eyes.

While it’s natural for older adults to experience a decline in physical activity, mobility and mental sharpness, that doesn’t mean it’s easy for family members to deal with. To help ease the journey for you and your aging loved ones, our senior living community in Evanston is here to help. We’re sharing common signs that alert the need for additional help as well as the best care tactics.

Three changes to look for in your aging parents

It’s important to be aware of changes in your parents’ health. Learn more about three major signs indicating they need help from family caregivers or senior care professionals. Then, create your own checklist to stay on top of their day-to-day habits.

  1. Physical Changes

The most obvious signs can be noticed in your parents’ movements. And while you may not be around to observe every step they take, make note to pay attention to any of these actions and symptoms whenever you’re with them:

  • Trouble getting out of a chair/sofa or bed
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty bathing or using the restroom
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bruises, burns and cuts (could signify a recent fall or running into objects)
  • Difficulty seeing
  • Low energy
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty getting dressed
  1. Behavioral Changes

Behavioral changes can be alarming for your parents to experience and for you to witness. If you notice any of the following, additional guidance from geriatric care managers or healthcare professionals will most likely be required.

  • Short temper or increased agitation
  • Slurring of words
  • Lack of hygiene (dirty clothing, unkempt hair, noticeable body odor, or bad breath)
  • Lack of sleep
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Loss of interest in activities they usually enjoy
  • Hoarding
  • Dirty home (overflowing trash; sink with dirty dishes; spoiled groceries; clear signs of dust, dirt and grime)
  • Untended yard
  • Unexplained damage to their car (did they run into something or get into an accident?)
  1. Cognitive Changes

Everyday tasks will grow increasingly difficult for elderly parents experiencing cognitive changes. Any of the following signs can indicate Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Regardless of the specific diagnosis, home care or senior housing may be the next step to ensuring your parents’ safety and well-being.

  • General forgetfulness (forgetting to pay bills, not remembering current events or names of family and friends.)
  • Dangerous forgetfulness (not remembering to take medications, forgetting to eat, leaving the stove on or water running, leaving the car running)
  • Confusion or loss of train of thought
  • Getting lost while driving
  • Not wearing appropriate clothing for the weather
  • Wandering outside
  • Unable to tell time
  • Increased paranoia and anxiety

The best ways to care for your aging parent

We understand that noticing any of the above changes in your parents’ behavior can be startling. So what should you do next? Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Keep their home safe.
    Help them declutter, clean, and implement safety tools like walkers, shower chairs, and bed rails.
  2. Check in more frequently.
    Call or stop by more than usual to get the best understanding of how they’re living day to day.
  3. Attend doctor appointments.
    Be a second set of ears and eyes. It will help your parents to have a trusted advocate to assist with managing their healthcare needs.
  4. Plan ahead and explore senior living options.
    Caring for your loved ones at home may not be the best or safest option. Look into senior living in Evanston that provides care levels and opportunities for optimum living.

The Perfect Place for Your Parents to Age Gracefully

Westminster Place is a Life Plan Community in downtown Evanston, Illinois, that offers on-site long-term care. Learn how your aging parent can benefit from our lifestyle options and plan ahead to secure their spot in assisted living or memory care.