How to Determine an Aging Parent Needs Help at Home
How will you know when your elderly parents need help at home? One thing is certain: your parents aren’t likely to be the ones who tell you they need a helping hand!
How do you know if it is time for help at home or an increased level of care? Look for these red flags as common indicators that a senior may need some form of assistance.
Difficulty Performing Routine Activities of Daily Living
- Dressing and grooming
- Transferring or moving from place to place (e.g., moving from the bed to a chair)
Changes in Physical Function or Appearance That Indicate a Need for Assistance
- Noticeable weight loss due to poor diet, difficulty cooking, eating, shopping for food, etc.
- Sloppy appearance due to difficulty dressing and grooming.
- Poor personal hygiene and unpleasant body odor as a result of infrequent showering or bathing.
- Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care, such as unkempt hair, untrimmed nails or lack of oral care.
- Bruises, wounds or other marks on the body that could indicate a senior has fallen or is having trouble walking or moving from place to place.
- Noticeable burns on the skin could indicate a senior is experiencing problems cooking.
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping for most of the day.
Changes in Behavior or Mental Status
- Lack of drive or motivation.
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
- Difficulty keeping track of time.
- Failure to return phone calls to friends and family members.
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings.
- Increased agitation
- Verbally or physically abusive behaviors.
Physical Clues That Your Parents Are Neglecting Household Responsibilities
- Inability to independently complete Instrumental ADLs.
- Dirty house and/or extreme clutter.
- Stacks of unopened mail, late payment notices or bounced checks.
- Unpaid bills, calls from collectors or utilities being turned off.
- Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away.
- Little or no fresh, healthy food or overall low food supply.
- Stained or wet furniture or carpet.
- Urine odor in house (signs of incontinence).
- Pots and pans with noticeable burn marks could indicate food has been left unattended while cooking or reheating.
- General upkeep, such as the lawn, snow removal or garbage collection, not being maintained as normal.
- Signs of unsafe driving, such as automobile dents and scratches.
- Unfilled prescriptions.