As our parents age, frequently we need to make decisions that we never anticipated making. Adult children worry about making the correct decisions. When caring for an aging parent from afar, it can be hard to know when your help is needed.
Making important healthcare decisions for an aging parent can be hard on family members. Be sure to voice your concerns with your family member and explain how you are feeling. Here are some signs to watch for in making decisions regarding your parent’s safety and well-being.
Confusion with Medications
Have you noticed disorder in medications that may be sitting out on the counter, or that perhaps your parents haven’t taken their medication at all? If your family member seems confused by all their medications, it may be time for them to receive assistance with medication help from the pharmacy or assisted living community.
Falls are an often-overlooked sign of a problem for an older person. A fall can injure the spine, hip, pelvis, or knees, often leading to other complications. These complications such as pneumonia or a stroke can cause decreased mobility. If you notice unexplained bruising, don’t ignore the underlying cause which may be falls.
Loss of Sight
Is your loved one’s eyesight getting worse? Can they no longer read the labels on their medication bottles or pills? Are your older relative’s medication “boxes” disorganized with extra pills in some days and few to none in others? Even if they only have seemingly general eyesight issues, it may be time to consider a senior living facility.
Have you noticed high credit card charges or unexplained bills? If your parents have been claiming to not have enough money to pay bills, it may be that they need someone to assist them. TV purchases can often be a problem. In such cases, you may need to monitor these purchases as well. It’s easy to miss this sign, so ask questions respectfully.
If an elderly parent who has a reputation for looking sharp and dressing impeccably has suddenly stopped ‘looking after themselves’, this may be an indication of a health problem or simply lack of interest in his or her appearance and surroundings. This may be a sign that they are unable to take care of those details.
The house that was always clean has become cluttered. While you are visiting you notice unopened boxes on the floor, groceries not put into cupboards, and clothing strewn all over the living room sofa. Their lack of care for the environment could indicate a problem.
Have your parents missed doctors’ appointments or lunch with you? Those missed appointments could have serious consequences, such as an undetected health issue not receiving timely attention and care. Make sure this doesn’t become a pattern.
If you are noticing these signs, talk to your loved ones, your siblings, and their doctor to get the proper guidance needed to help with their care.