Getting older and losing the ability to be fully independent can be a very hard pill to swallow and aging parents may be reluctant to admit to their busy adult children that they need help. Pride and fear of loss of control may have some older adults hiding the fact they can’t climb the stairs to the laundry room or see well enough to drive to the grocery store. Elderly parents may also not want to add to the burdens of their grown children who are likely juggling careers and raising children.
It can be all to easy to take Mom at her word that “everything is fine” during weekly phone calls or visits. But with a little detective work, family and friends can begin to recognize the signs that their elderly loved-one may not be faring as well as everyone had thought.
Warnings Signs Elder Needs Help
1. Check the fridge and pantry – is it well stocked? Is food spoiling?
2. Look for signs that housekeeping is slipping – some tasks such as vacuuming or mopping can become too difficult.
3. Is laundry piling up or do clothes seem unwashed?
4. Are there unexplained accidents, burn marks, scorched pans, household damage or injuries?
5. Are prescriptions filled and being taken on schedule? You can judge by date on bottle and number of pills remaining.
6. Are they missing doctor appointments?
7. Are there signs of memory loss; calling at odd hours or changes in behavior such not dressing properly for the weather.
8. Are bills or mail piling up?
Many of these signs that a parent or elderly friend or family member may be in need of assistance can be managed with coordinating at-home care, installing an emergency response system, using programmable medication minders or scheduling meal delivery. Many community organizations help with coordinating visiting volunteers or home care services. To learn more about aging in place in Canada, visit http://www.seniors.gc.ca/eng/index.shtml.