“My parents live independently at home, but I think they may need some assistance”
From our experience a comment like the above translates as, “My parents need help, NOW! And I do not know who to trust and where to turn for advice.” Digging for answers, we invariably find that there has been some type of physical or environmental change with their family member. This change was so out of character it warranted a phone call.
One of the most common physical changes is the once well-kept mom who now appears disheveled. You remember her dressed in impeccably matched outfits adorned with the appropriate matching accessories and jewelry. But lately, you find that her clothes are dirty, unmatched, and wearing Christmas sweaters in July. Some people might consider this a sign of aging and move on. But this could be a sign of a more serious situation. Could your loved one be depressed? Have there been signs of dementia? Have you noticed vision loss or other physical impairments?
Weight loss is another outwardly physical change that would cause concern. Losing weight without trying can mean many things in the elderly. Is it possible that they no longer have the energy to cook? Are they experiencing pain due to arthritis or other joint problems leaving them incapable of lifting heavy pans or using cooking utensils?
A diminished sense of taste or smell can also be another cause for weight loss. Losing the sense of taste and smell is part of the natural aging process, but it is also a side effect of many medications. Either way, food that doesn’t smell tantalizing or taste as good as it once did, is no longer enticing to eat.
Weight loss is also a sign of more serious issues like depression or an illness. If you notice any fluctuations in your loved ones weight please seek the advice of their physician.
Environmental changes are issues that occur in the home. For example you may find bills unpaid, moldy and outdated food in the refrigerator, piles of papers or magazines on the floor, dirty dishes in various places, heaps of clothing, etc. Remembering back to your childhood days, you realize these things are uncharacteristic of your loved ones.
Realizing that you parents need help is the first step. We are glad that you found Stay At Home and it would be an honor to talk with you about your aging parents.