More and more, you’ve been worrying about an elderly parent or loved one who lives alone. Do they need more help? Are things really just fine, or are they in denial and trying to hang on to living on their own longer than they should? These signs can help you determine whether it’s time to have a talk with them about moving into assisted living.
  • Has your loved one become forgetful about important things, such as medical appointments, paying bills and when to eat?
  • Has your loved one experienced any weight change? This could indicate that he or she is having trouble shopping for and preparing proper meals.
  • Is there a lot of expired food in the refrigerator or is it empty?
  • Is your parent following the proper medication regimen? Can your parent tell you about the different medicines and what they’re for?
  • Are you worried about your parent’s ability to be behind the wheel? Have they had a recent traffic incident or are there scratches and dents on the car that weren’t there before?
  • Has your loved one had a fall recently?
  • Is your loved one hiding bruises, cuts or burns from you, or does he or she not know how they happened?
  • Has your parent had a problem with small fires?
  • Does your loved one wear the same clothes all the time?
  • Does your loved one seem to be keeping up with his or her hygiene? Do they have strong body odor, or do you smell urine in the house?
  • Are they continuing to maintain their home and the yard or have they neglected tasks that they usually take care of?
  • Is your parent able to stand from a seated position with relative ease? Can they maneuver as they need to?
  • Does your loved one tell you that he or she hears noises at night?
  • Does your parent seem to be isolating him or herself and spending more time alone?
  • Has your parent become unusually suspicious or fearful?
  • How does your parent react in an emergency?
  • Is your parent behaving strangely or uncharacteristically in any way? Has he or she been expressing any disorientation?
It is difficult to confront seniors about such matters, as they often want to stay independent and don’t realize how seriously they need help. Your parent needs you at this time to step in and express your concerns, before a terrible incident takes place. If you have decided to take action, your next step is to do research to determine what your loved one needs, seek out a geriatric assessment, and research facilities. There is a lot of work to be done at this stage, so finally don’t forget to seek out help and support for yourself too. You can only care for others once you’ve cared for yourself.