It’s hard to see the subtle changes in someone who is close to you until they become big changes. As a child of an ageing parent, it can often fall on you and your siblings to know when your independent parent needs help. It’s a scary job, but there’s a lot of help out there. If you’re ever in doubt, please call us with your concerns – we’re here to listen.
Here are 5 signs to watch for that your ageing parent needs help:
- Forgetfulness. Often the first sign that we notice is items being left in the wrong places, missing appointments, or forgetting names. If this starts to happen, have your parent do a dementia test with the doctor – this will help set a baseline in the event that dementia does progress. It can be a difficult topic, but forgetfulness can have more serious consequences such as leaving the stove on, so take the time to find out.
- Piling mail and unpaid bills. If you stop by and see a pile of unopened mail, or if you find out that some of their bills have gone unpaid, this is could be a sign of forgetting. Ask your parent about it, and offer to help them by taking care of their admin.
- Sudden weight loss. If your elderly parent has dropped their weight quite quickly, it may be because they’re forgetting to eat properly or buy food from the store. It could also be due to an illness, so speak to them and see if you can take them to the doctor to find out more.
- Poor hygiene. Another early sign of dementia is failing to look after yourself properly, like bathing or brushing teeth. Avoiding the bath, however, could also be a sign of an injury or a fear of slipping, so again, speak to them and find out.
- Bruises and balance. Any unexplained bruises could be from a fall that they don’t want to tell you about. You may also notice your parent steadying themselves or walking slower – while these may be written off as the process of ageing, it’s worth being cautious and ensuring that it isn’t due to dementia or an illness.