Whether we live across town or across the continent, it’s important to watch for actions or behaviors that may signal a need for assistance in one or more areas of our parents’ daily lives.
What are some of the signs we can observe that may signal a need for help at home?
- Unkempt or soiled clothing. May signal depression, dementia or underlying health concerns that make laundry chores difficult.
- Diminished driving skills. When taking a drive with Mom or Dad, watch for sudden breaking, missed road signs, or slowed reflexes.
- Lack of interest in reading or missed appointments. Do favorite reading materials go unread? Are appointments missed due to a calendar not being maintained or the mistaken notion that the appointment has already taken place?
- Medications not being consumed. Check prescription bottles and match contents with refill dates. Are medications being taken regularly and timely?
- Confusion and repeated phone calls. Do you receive several phone calls a day and are the same questions be repeated?
- Poor housekeeping or lack of home maintenance. Are difficult tasks being left undone? Is there food in the fridge or is it long past the expiration date? Look up and down! Do light bulbs need replacing? Do frayed rugs pose a trip hazard?
- Check the mail. Are bills being paid on time? Is correspondence timely?
We hope to help our parents maintain their independence for as long as possible, but it may become apparent that a helping hand is needed in order to ensure independence and dignity. For more information, check out Part 3 in our 4-part video series highlighting clues around the home that may indicate a need for additional help, “Loss of Attention Signals and Environmental Clues”.
Do you have additional tips that may help families provide independence for their loved ones? If so, please share in our reader forum.