We are now into the new year, but as you reflect on this past holiday season when you were able to visit in person with your aging parent, did it feel like this in person visit was long overdue? Granted, technology has allowed us to remain connected, even when physically apart, but in person there are certain things that can be done, or that are easier to notice.

When visiting in person with your aging parent you are able to notice and see even the tiniest detail. In fact, it is often the small changes that can make the biggest impact on longevity or the ability to age in place. These small changes may, in fact, bring to your attention that something is seriously wrong. As an example, when watching your aging parent deal with day to day tasks, you may observe physical impairments that show your aging parent may need in-home care.

We are very aware that this can be a challenging time for you and your aging parent. Therefore, we want to share with you six significant changes that may mean it is time for your parent to get some in-home care help.

1. Mobility Issues. You notice that your parent is now having trouble getting around the house and that inability was not present the last time you visited. Is your parent apprehensive or cautious when moving around? Does he or she brace him- or herself on the furniture? These may be signs that your aging parent does not feel able to move safely around the house.

2. Medication Management. Your aging parent is having difficulty managing his or her medications. Is the medicine cabinet in disorder? Are expired prescriptions lying around? These two examples may be signs that your parent may be having difficulties taking care of needed medications, which can be dangerous on a number of levels.

3. Messy house. Your parent’s house, for the first time, looks like it is uncared for. The living space looks like a cleaning is long overdue. There is very little food in the
kitchen and the food that is there has expired. When you are aging, managing a living space, as well as being able to provide yourself with proper nutrition, can be a big task.

4. Proper hygiene is not maintained. Your aging parent does not seem aware of the importance of maintaining proper hygiene. You have noticed that your parent seems unkempt. This may be a sign that he or she may be struggling with maintaining proper hygiene habits. Perhaps, though, your parent feels unsafe showering or has simply let hygiene habits fall by the wayside.

5. Still driving. How does your aging parent’s car look? Are there any new dents or problems in regard to your parent’s car? Is your parent concerned about driving safely on the road? Talking to your aging parent about driving is difficult, but important. Making other arrangements about transportation may be necessary to keep your loved one and others on the road safe.

6. No social life. You notice your aging parent does not keep up with friends. Social isolation can be a real problem. If your parent seems extremely lonely, to the point where he or she may be depressed, this may be a sign that he or she may need some in-home help.

An in-home care coordinator can assist your parent in managing day to day life. He or she may be able to rearrange the living spaces and oversee the installation of safety devices to assist in your parent being able to safely navigate the house. Should you need assistance with addressing the long-term care needs of your parent or aging loved one as well as with related legal matters, our office remains committed to serving you in any way we can. Please reach out to us to schedule an appointment.