When it comes to older parents we expect some declines in functioning. Albeit physical or mental, certain changes are bound to occur. As their adult children, they may become dependent upon our help, and for most this is perfectly acceptable.
But at what point should we become seriously concerned and step in, against their express wishes, and directly provide care or move them into a safer environment like a senior board & care or an assisted living community. It’s never easy. Because they will rarely admit that they have lost the ability to take proper care of themselves. If dementia is involved you will face strong resistances. Because the ability to reason is severely damaged. But waiting too long has serious consequences: accidents, illness that become crippling or terminal, injury to others, etc. etc.
The following are 30 signs that your older parent is not doing well. 3 or 4 of them are acceptable. 5 or 6 are a serious concern. 7 or more indicate it’s time to take action.
Signs that You need to Increase the level of care Provided
by Diane Carbo
Here is a list of things that you may want to observe to identify that more help is needed.
1. There will be some difficulty with walking. May start to hold onto furniture or walls when ambulating.
2. Experiencing frequently falls or unsteadiness. You may see the presence of bruises.
3. Decline in personal hygiene or grooming. May start to wear stained clothes, have body odor, infrequently bathes or washes hair. May wear the same clothes day after day.
4 Experiences changes in eating habits. May only snack, have a decreased appetite, eat one meal a day, forget to eat, makes poor food choices, or has a refrigerator of expired food or no food in the refrigerator.
5. Starts having problems with incontinence.
6. The home environment is unsafe. Maybe it is unclean, has cluttered walkways or poor lighting. The home may need repairs. There are broken or missing smoke detectors, lack of security, may leave doors unlocked or the stove or oven on.
7. Experiences significant weight loss or gain.
8. Lives in chronic pain
9.Abuses alcohol or prescription drugs.
10. There are unpaid or past due bills.
11. Unopened piles of mail.
12. Becomes unable to manage their checkbook.
13. Difficulty dealing with money properly.
14. May be a victim of scams or financial abuse.
15. Experiences poor or decreased judgment.
16. Has difficulty coordinating or monitoring prescriptions and being compliant with different medications.
17. May experience paranoia, forgetfulness or memory loss.
18. Gets lost and can’t find their way back home, in familiar surroundings.
19. Leaves stove on, unplugs the refrigerator.
20. Has difficulty recognizing friends or family members. May not remember them at all.
21. Forgets to take medications, or taking it improperly.
22. Becomes increasingly forgetful. Misses doctor’s appointments, family events. May forget names of individuals or objects. Frequently loses things or places things in unusual places.
23. May start to be repetitive in questions or stories.
24.May become physically or verbally abusive.
25. May start to experience delusions or hallucinations. This may exhibit as a different perspective of objects or events that others don’t see or developing false beliefs.
26. May start to call adult children or friends repeatedly at inappropriate hours of day or night.
SOCIAL / EMOTIONAL SIGNS
27. Social Isolation
28. Experiences mood changes such as anger, suspicion, paranoia, or agitation.
29. Becomes depressed or feels lonely. May exhibit this by crying, feelings of sadness or have lack of energy or feelings of hopelessness. May experience an increase or decrease in sleeping and/or appetite.
30 Exhibits a lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities, may stop participating in social, church or volunteer activities.