Have you been noticing a difference in your parents? Maybe mom looks like she has lost a pound or two. Maybe the last few times you’ve seen dad, he’s been wearing the same shirt, and you know it hasn’t been washed because of the stain right down the middle. Now sometimes losing weight can be normal especially when we get older, or forgetting to throw that shirt in the wash and just wearing it over and over because its comfortable and you know you aren’t leaving the house. However, there is definitely a point in time where we need to take a closer look into our parents or elderly loved ones and see if there is a bigger issue. Below we’ve highlighted a few signs that show our parents need us.
Eating: so maybe you’ve noticed some weight loss in your elderly loved one. This could be a sign they aren’t eating. There could be a few different reasons for this – maybe they are having trouble cooking and are unsure of what to make or cooking has just become too difficult. They might also be forgetting to eat which is definitely a sign they need you now more than ever. Ensuring they are keeping hydrated is also imperative especially during the summer months. Check their refrigerator regularly to ensure that the food is still good and has not gone bad, also watch what they buy at the food store and ensure that food is getting eaten. Watch out for a consistently empty refrigerator.
Memory: are your parents forgetting to eat? Or maybe they’re forgetting to take their regular medications and vitamins. They could also have started to miss several important doctors’ appointments. Whatever it is that they are forgetting is a serious indication they need help. Forgetfulness could be an underlying issue of a medical condition or even dementia. To further understand and assess this, bring them to their doctor and explain their symptoms.
Mood: everyone definitely has their good and bad days – we all don’t have to be in a good mood all the time. However, if you are starting to notice your parent’s mood is different, and they are always feeling unhappy or having a poor outlook this could be a sign of depression. Another thing to watch out for in this instance is their social life. Have they decided to stop seeing friends completely or do they no longer want to leave the house? It is especially important to look out for depression in our elders who already have pre-existing health conditions. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Depression is more common in people who also have other illnesses (such as heart disease or cancer) or whose function becomes limited.” Paying attention to their moods can be so important in helping to keep our loved ones happy and healthy.
Hygiene: Pay attention to the hygiene of your parents. This can tell you a lot about if they are having trouble on their own – it could even give you a heads-up on a more serious health condition. Watch out for continuously wearing the same clothing, or consistently looking disheveled. Also, look out for their home, are they cleaning regularly? Are they doing their laundry, washing the dishes, and taking out the trash? If some of these are questionable, then this is definitely a sign that your parents need you.
Noticing these signs can go a long way. We want our loved ones to be living a healthy lifestyle and make sure they are not developing depression or dementia or another serious health condition. Sometimes our parents need us and they don’t know they need us, which is why we need to watch out for some of these signs. If you are noticing these things, try to address the problem with them and definitely mention it to their doctor. Above all, let’s continue to take care of our loved ones in the best way possible!
“Aging Parents: 8 Warning Signs of Health Problems.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Jan. 2015, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/aging-parents/art-20044126?pg=1.
“Healthy Aging.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Jan. 2017, www.cdc.gov/aging/mentalhealth/depression.htm.
Larsen, Dana. “18 Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help.” 18 Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Help, 15 Jan. 2016, www.aplaceformom.com/blog/12-01-2015-signs-your-senior-parents-need-help/.
Yancey, Dr. Victoria. “9 Signs Your Parent Needs Help.” Care.com, Care.com, 23 Apr. 2014, www.care.com/c/stories/5412/9-signs-your-parent-needs-help/.