As we age, it’s important that those younger than us pay attention to our health to prevent major events from happening. Although medical crises arouse conversations about new needs, there are signs indicating that your parents may not be as independent as they have been before. Here are seven common signs to watch for:
1. Piles of unpaid bills – A sign that dementia is setting in is letting unpaid bills begin to pile up; however, it can also be a sign of disorganization and life getting in the way. Be sure to determine what is going on.
2. The house looks grimy – Your parents most likely can’t bend down much anymore and may not be able to see the dirt piling up. A cluttered house is a tripping hazard for elders.
3. A lack of fresh, healthy food – A sign that taking care of themselves is harder is a lack of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. They may begin to live on boxed and canned food providing them with less nutrients.
4. Missed medications – Missing a dose or taking too many at one time can be dangerous. Check your parents’ medications closely to see if doses have been skipped.
5. A distinct smell – With less mobility and possibly dementia, personal hygiene and laundry become less of a priority. A distinct odor can drive the realization that they may need additional help.
6. Unexplained bruising – Seniors tend to bruise more easily. Watch while they walk through the house; holding onto walls or furniture is a sign they’re unsteady on their feet and could benefit from a cane or walker.
7. The car has new dings and dents – As we grow older, our reaction time slows and so does the ability to turn our heads. Take a look at a senior’s car for any unexplained dings – if there are trouble spots, it may be time for a conversation about driving ability.
While older adults are capable of independence, it’s important for them to make decisions about additional support to help care for their needs. Find out what tasks feel difficult and ask where you can assist in their lives.