A lot of people see their parents every single week. They take the grandkids, have a coffee and even spend time with them. One problem that some people have however is that they don’t realize that their elderly parents are no longer coping with life at home. They may not be able to stay on top of the washing up, have lower than normal hygiene levels or simply have difficulty paying bills. Unless you look out for these signs, they will probably go unnoticed for long periods of time and this can have an effect on the whole family. If you want to stop things like this from happening, then look below.
Lower than Normal Hygiene Standards
If you see dishes that haven’t been washed, out of date food piling up in the fridge or a messy home in general then this could be a sign that the tasks of daily living are becoming too much for them. This is especially the case if they are living alone. If this is the case then you need to broach the subject carefully. It is very easy to take offense to comments like this, regardless of how true they are, so take into account the feelings of your parent and talk with them when the time is right. It may be that they need a cleaner to go in and help them with their daily chores, or even someone to cook them lunch in the afternoon. Sometimes little changes are all that’s required, and when you are able to look out for some of the above signs, you can then begin to understand how much additional help and support your parent needs.
Lack of Home Maintenance
Every home requires some level of maintenance from time to time. If you do not stay on top of this then the issues will only get worse and it may even turn a simple job into a complex repair that requires professional help. If you notice that your parent is not dealing with basic repairs around the home then it may be that they are no longer able to and that they now find it difficult to climb a ladder, hammer in a nail or even make simple repairs. This is especially the case if they were always DIY-focused and headstrong when it comes to home projects. If this seems to be happening then it may be worth looking into the other things they find difficult, such as climbing the stairs, doing the laundry or even sweeping the yard. If they are able to do most things around the house then it may be that you just need a handyman to come and do some basic maintenance on the home. This will save you time and money, and it will also stop your loved one from trying to do something that they are no longer able to do.
Poor Levels of Personal Care
You may notice your parents aren’t taking care of themselves as much as they normally would. If you know that your mother would never usually leave the house without makeup, but now she has zero interest in makeup or getting ready in the morning, then this can be a red flag. Try and look out for little things such as behavioral changes, food being spilled down their clothes or anything else similar. This may indicate that they are no longer as aware of their appearance, and also that they are not able to do anything about it. You have to remember here that it is completely normal for you to feel awkward about broaching this idea to your elderly parent, but their reaction may surprise you. They may be relieved that you want to help them solve the problems that they are having, and you may even be able to make it easier for them to take care of themselves as well. Take the above, for example. You could look into buying a makeup set with a different applicator, or a bigger brush, as this could give your parent the additional help they need to take care of themselves as they normally would. This is especially the case when you are not around to help them. Small changes like this can also be a really big boost to their confidence.
Lack of Interest in Activities
If you see that your loved one has absolutely no interest in going out with their friends or even attending the book clubs that they were once interested in then this could be a sign that their mental state is changing or deteriorating. This isn’t always a sign of dementia, but it is something that you need to be aware of. They could be experiencing some form of depression or they might not be feeling as social as they once were. Companion care can go a long way here, and some carers would even be willing to drive them to their local club and sit with them while they are there. This can be a great way for you to try and reintroduce them to the things that they once loved, and it also means that they have someone who is medically trained to help them while they are there as well.
Friends or neighbors will probably be the first to let you know if your loved one is acting differently. They may start to go out at strange times of the night, dress differently or even act aggressively for no apparent reason. This can be a sign of dementia, and if this is the case then it is well worth looking into a dementia careplan as this will help them to get the support they need. Ignoring signs like this will only make things worse for you and your loved one, and although it can be a difficult subject to talk about, it is required if you want to help them understand what they are going through. As mentioned above, they may even agree and want to get help for themselves as well, so you don’t always have to worry about conflict.