It can be difficult to know when your aging parent will require additional care. You don’t want to make a premature judgement call, but you also don’t want to risk a detrimental event that could have been avoided if care was provided sooner.
The key to identifying when your elderly parent requires additional care is to be aware of typical behaviours and activities, enabling you to notice subtle or obvious signs that physical or mental health may be declining.
Cognitive & Memory Issues
Recurring or frequent memory issues can indicate the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone forgets sometimes, but it’s important to look for patterns. Some signals that your parent may be experiencing cognitive and memory problems are:
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
- Lack of interest in favourite pastimes
- Sudden changes in sleep patterns
- Failure to recognize familiar people
- Missing appointments and commitments
- Forgetfulness or confusion when performing familiar tasks
- Taking incorrect medication dosages or neglecting to take medication
If you notice a potential sign of declining mental health, pay attention to your parent’s behaviour to determine whether you can identify multiple occurences.
Changes in Physical Abilities
Chronic diseases are defined as those that last for an extended period of time, such as arthritis, asthma, cancer and diabetes. These types of conditions can lessen physical health both rapidly and gradually. If your parent is burdened with a chronic disease, it’s important to understand the symptoms and health effects so you can notice changes in physical abilities.
Sometimes old age simply takes over and physical health decreases. Additional care for your loved one should be considered if you notice one or more of the following physical changes:
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Problems standing up from a seated position
- Slips, trips and falls
- Unexplained bruising or other injuries
- Limping or obvious pain when moving
- Significant weight loss or sudden loss of appetite
- Decline in vision and/or hearing
Lack of Personal Care
Finally, your elderly parent may require additional care if he/she displays a general disregard for daily living. This can include:
- Poor personal hygiene
- Disheveled clothing
- House or yard in need of care or maintenance
- Dirty, cluttered or unorganized home
- Stacks of unpaid bills or unopened mail
- Broken appliances
- Spoiled groceries in the fridge or cupboards
- Poor diet
It may be possible that your loved one is avoiding routine tasks because they’ve become too challenging. Your parent may be afraid to admit that they’re struggling, so it’s critical for you to notice these types of changes.
Health crises in elderly people can escalate rapidly, so it’s important to recognize the signs and get involved. Many aging individuals and children deny that there is a problem — don’t be one of those individuals. You must pay close attention and address declining health issues, even if it’s painful.
Depending on your parent’s condition, a senior home, visiting nurse or other care alternative may be the most suitable course of action.
If the logical next step is finding a private senior home for your loved one, contact Access Senior Living. We provide personalized care in a safe, intimate environment and work to improve quality of life for seniors and their families.
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