Look out for these vital signs that your ageing parents may need help.
As your parents grow older, you may begin to notice some of the common signs of ageing, such as forgetfulness, reduced concentration and becoming frail. What often worries us more, is whether they are still coping; how can you tell, and how can you introduce the often-delicate subject of talking to them about getting help when they need it.
Have they become unsteady on their feet or are they having falls?
Every year, more than 70,000 people over 65 are admitted to accident and emergency as the result of a fall.
As we become older, our muscles, joints and bones change significantly meaning that we can find it difficult to move as quickly, or as well as we once did. And if we do fall our bones can break much more easily,
Normal daily activities can become more difficult, tiring, or take a lot longer to complete. If you notice signs that your parent is having trouble moving about, it may because they are experiencing these changes. Remove any trip hazards around the home. You may want to consider having their home evaluated for any home adaptations that could assist them.
You may also wish to find out if your parent has recently had their eyesight checked, as often a fall can be avoided by ensuring regular eye check-ups are happening.
A home that becomes cluttered when it was usually clean and tidy
You might notice that your ageing Mother or Father appear to be hoarding things downstairs, or not putting things away as they once did. Check what types of things they are, as this can help you to determine what the difficulty might be.
If there are things they would normally get from or take upstairs or go into another room for, this could indicate a lack of mobility or perhaps something that is causing pain when trying to walk or tackle stairs.
Changes in mood and daily activities.
Mood variations are only to be expected, as it can be a great cause of frustration to become less able to do things for yourself. However, if you notice that sadness, or tearfulness is persistent, and is accompanied by a lack of interest in their usual daily activities, a cease in social activities, difficulty with sleeping, or they are experiencing weight loss, then there is a good chance that these could be the first signs of depression or anxiety which may be brought on by financial worries, loneliness, or coping with ageing.
Anger and aggressive behaviour can also be brought on by trying to cope with declining physical ability and cognitive function which in turn will heighten levels of frustration.
Changes in personal hygiene or appearance.
If you notice some changes in appearance of one or both parents, they may be finding the bathroom a difficult place to manage; fear of slipping may cause them to be afraid of using the bathroom, especially if they live alone.
Showering and washing can also become quite tiring task as we age, it’s often found to be a combination of the two.
It may also be that they are worrying about money and are cutting down to save on utility bills.
Changes in memory, concentration or behaviour.
Most of us will experience slight deterioration in memory and concentration as we age, it’s completely natural and not necessarily an issue. Forgetfulness can be frustrating but it is completely normal. You can offer lists, notice boards, and reminders to help out. However, if this is progressively getting worse; they are unable to perform daily tasks, forget commonly known things, unable to follow a story, or instructions then it may be time to be suggest a visit to the GP.
How you can help?
Try not to directly assume that your ageing parents are having any problems or try to fix things without consultation. This will more than likely create friction, and possibly cause an argument and further unwillingness to discuss the problem.
Gently and respectfully, try bringing up that you’ve noticed some changes, and ask what you can do to help – then make a suggestion if it feels appropriate. The way you choose to talk to your parents is important and needs to take a ‘working together’ approach.
If you feel that your parent is putting themselves in danger, it’s easy for emotions to run high, but you will usually make more headway by remaining calm. You parent will be concerned that by accepting that they might need some help, they might begin to lose control of their own choices in life.
Fambridge Care can work with you to help overcome any challenges with parents who may be refusing help, by assessing the situation as a third party and working in partnership with you to suggest the care solutions that might be most appropriate.
To find out more about our visiting & live-in care services or to book your FREE no obligation initial consultation, please call us on 01245 356592.