Welcome to the latest edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Philip Keohane, Director of Home Instead in Reading.
For an elderly person to admit they need help would mean they can't take care of themselves anymore, and no one wants to lose their independence. Usually, the burden falls on family members to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need some extra help with daily living tasks, but this doesn't necessarily mean that your loved one has to move into a care home. They may just need some extra help in their home.
Here are some questions to ask to determine if your elderly parents may need some extra care?
Are your parents able to take care of themselves? Pay attention to your parents' appearance. Failure to keep up with daily routines such as bathing, tooth brushing, and good hygiene is a sign that they may be experiencing feelings of depression or have a physical ailment.
Are your parents able to take care of their home? Are the lights working or is the laundry piling up? Is the yard overgrown? Any changes in the way your parents do things around the house could provide clues to their health.
Are your parents safe on the road? Driving can be challenging for older adults. If your parents become confused while driving or you're concerned about their ability to drive safely, it might be time to stop driving.
Have your parents lost weight? Losing weight without trying could be a sign that something's wrong. Weight loss could be related to many factors, including difficulty cooking, loss of taste or smell or perhaps it is the signal of an underlying condition such as malnutrition, dementia, or depression.
Are your parents still social? It’s important to talk to your parents about their activities. Are they connecting with friends? Have they maintained interest in hobbies and other daily activities? Are they involved in organizations or clubs? If a parent gives up on being with others, it could be a sign of a problem.
Even if you don’t live near-by to your parents but are concerned about their health and wellbeing, there are many things you can do to ensure your parents' are getting the support they need. Share your concerns with them and address any issues that you feel may become bigger if they aren’t dealt with early on. Encourage regular medical check-ups, consider home care services, and seek help from local agencies.
If you would like to speak to someone at Home Instead, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We also welcome any suggestions for future topics from you all. All you have to do is write to me at [email protected] or by post to