Can you just ring my mobile... a sign your ageing parent needs help?

Got older parents? Take a minute to look over the following list of events. None of these are particularly concerning on their own; anyone can miss an appointment, can’t think where keys or mobile phone has gone ….. ( we all know this feeling!!!) And we all quite fancy a Pyjama day when we can’t be bothered to get up or wash the dishes. But should we be concerned if we spot our ageing parent, friend or loved one with a number of these instances in a short space of time? Not sure if we should be thinking about help with my mum's care?

If these instances are right out of character, or are quite adamantly denied, think about having a gentle but very important chat over a cup of tea. A non threatening conversation. These signs caught early on are really key to ensuring ongoing good quality of life, and that planned support is there when it is necessary. #considercare is our tag for such ‘signs’, they may point to the potential need for care, they do not necessarily mean you have to panic.

Signs you may consider:

A heap of unread post

An otherwise organised parent is ignoring the post, its piling up by the toaster or behind the door. Unusual? maybe have a chat with Mum or Dad - see if there is any explanation?

Missed or mix ups over appointments

You may have had a steady routine of lifts to your loved one’s hospital appointments, but this has changed. Is it out of character?

 Bins which are overflowing

You know there is something nasty in there when you go in, and previously your mum would have been on top of this. No one likes the sight and smell of an overflowing kitchen bin! How come there is now a horrible smell in the kitchen. Plus no one has been putting the Big Bin out?

The Car. And the mysterious dent

Apart from a neighbour saying that Mum was seen driving a little erratically recently - there is a strange dent on the side of your parent’s car. When asked how it happened, they absolutely don’t recall when or how, and may dispute that it is actually there. 

Sink side with dirty pots - ( not quite The Young Ones)

Empty cups and unwashed dishes gradually filling the sink. This may be unheard of, for your otherwise clean and tidy father who always encouraged you to clear it all up every evening for a fresh start next day. 

The Dog’s strange behaviour

When you arrive for your regular visit, the family pets bowls are empty - dried on food or no water. Within 5 minutes the same tired dog is chasing its tail and driving you nuts for attention. Maybe Minty the Cat or Roger isn’t getting looked after or walked every day?

A sad and empty fridge

Not only is it a nearly empty fridge, but the few items it contains are out of date. Very odd with your otherwise organised and cookey bakey Mum.

The forgotten kettle

Dad has offered you a brew three times since you arrived over an hour ago, but has totally forgotten. Putting the kettle on, totally forgotten it each time.

The lost keys

Your Dad normally being the most organised person you know, now loses his keys on a regular basis. There are only so many times you can get another set cut. ( And its expensive!!)

Forgotten or empty medication box.

For a parent who has managed their medication and routine for years, it is definitely odd that there are missed days in their medication packet or it has run out suddenly. Why is this happening?

Do keep an eye out for these types of behaviour. Don’t be alarmed as soon as you notice one occurrence, or even several. Just make note, and start to watch out for a pattern or trend. If it begins to seem out of character, then maybe it’s time to act and #considercare.

For more advice about support in the home and keeping older parents safe, get in touch with us

Home Instead CAREGiver staff team sat talking
Family welcoming a Home Instead care manager into their home