Texas Senior Care and Housing Directory
Texas Senior Care and Housing Directory

Signs Your Parents Need Help

Determining What Kind of Help is Needed

small red arrowWhy Mental Health for Seniors is Often Overlooked

Elderly couple sitting

Additional Lifestyle Articles

How would you know if your elderly parents need help? With more and more families dispersed geographically, adult children who live far away from their elderly parents face ongoing worry about their health and safety.

As aging parents, particularly those who live alone, face medical and mobility issues, questions relating to their physical, social and psychological well-being arise. Adult children should be aware of any changes in their parents' attitudes or behavior- changes which are often undetectable over the telephone.

 A geriatric care manager, usually a licensed nurse or social worker who specializes in geriatrics, is a sort of "professional relative" who can help you and your family to identify needs and find ways to meet your needs.

Geriatric care management is the process of planning and coordinating care of the elderly and others with physical and/or mental impairments to meet their long term care needs, improve their quality of life, and maintain their independence for as long as possible.

10 Warning signs your elderly parents may need help:

1. Mail and bills are left to pile up. The simple act of opening and filing mail becomes overwhelming. Paying bills on time. Managing a checking account can also become too much for a parent to handle.

2. The house is cluttered or unkempt. Lack of interest. This should be of special concern if parent has always been neat and orderly.

3. Food in the refrigerator is uneaten or spoiled. Shopping, cooking, and cleaning become too much trouble. A parent might eat just enough to get by, but suffer nutritionally. Losing weight can be another sign that a parent is not eating a nutritious diet.

4. Signs of scorching on the bottoms of pots and pans. A result of short-term memory loss, this is a dangerous sign that parents are forgetting about pots left on the stove, causing a fire hazard, and threatening both the individual and the surrounding neighbors' safety.

5. Declining personal hygiene as indicated by unkempt hair, dirty or lengthy nails, poor oral hygiene, body or urine odor, unshaven, and wearing same clothes over and over e washing machine is in the basement. Or there may be a fear of falling in the tub or shower.

6. Missed doctor's appointments. Sometimes this is simply a product of not having transportation and not knowing how to access ride options.

7. Getting up and down stairs and in and out of home becoming difficult. Walking unsteady on level ground, complaining of dizziness, and falls are likely or have already occurred 

8. Forgetting to take medication. A sign of short-term memory loss or depression, this is  not just a quality of life issue, but a real risk factor.

9. Inappropriate behavior, clothing or speech. You may hear about this from a neighbor, someone who has noticed that your parent is not dressing appropriately for the weather, for instance. That's a sign that he or she might be confused.

10. Not recognizing need for, arranging, or scheduling necessary household repairs and maintenance. Lawn not mowe
d, trash disposed of, and mail retrieved with any regularity

Determining the Type of Help Needed

Once adult children determine their elderly parent may need help or assistance the next step is determining what kind? Do they need adult day services, home safety modifications, meal delivery, seen by a geriatric doctor to rule out depression, in home care, interaction at a senior center, and installing a medical alert device. These are just a few things that can make a big difference to an older adult living alone, who most likely wants to remain at home to 'age in place'.

What You  Can Do

Families can also consider consulting a Geriatric Care Manager. Care managers work closely with each elderly parent and his or her family, making a detailed assessment to find out what solutions are needed, and will be more likely accepted. In addition, a care manager can often help a parent understand the need for change.

Resistance to any kind of change is common especially among the senior population. That's where having an objective third party involved can be helpful. Geriatric Care Managers can make this time of transition easier for everyone. Even if the adult children live out of the area a care manager can be their eyes and ears so a parent's everyday well-being is less of a worry.

Related Articles:

Home | About | Articles | Resources | Site Map | Privacy Policy

DISCLAIMER: Links to other websites or references to products, services or publications do not imply the endorsement or approval of such websites, products, services or publications by Elder Options of Texas. The determination of the need for senior care services and the choice of a facility is an extremely important decision. Please make your own independent investigation.