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5 Things You May Have Noticed Over the Holidays That Signal Your Aging Parent Needs Help

An aging parent and his son
By Miles Hartley

Visiting for the holidays is a great way to reconnect with your parents and enjoy time together. It’s also a great opportunity to check on their well being and make sure they don’t need more help than they are letting on. It’s not always easy to tell from a phone call whether everything is fine, but if you were able to visit in person this past year, you may have been able to see clues that all is not well. Here are some common signs your parents need help, and what to do about it.

Did dad have trouble finding his keys?

Unless it’s normal for your parents to misplace their things regularly, your dad not being able to remember the keys hung up on a key rack could be a serious area of concern. This is especially the case if he seems to be frequently losing important items, and he never did before.

Did mom accidentally call you the dog’s name?

If your mom seems to consistently forget your name, it may be more than a simple mistake. If she keeps repeatedly making the mistake on your name, or forgets important dates like her birthday or yours, it may be a sign of something more than simple aging.

Has dad refused to take a shower since you got there?

A lapse in hygiene is a common sign that an elderly person can no longer care for themselves. Fear of water is a sign of dementia, but it could also be simple fear of slipping and falling. If a parent is too proud to ask for help in the shower, it may show in lack of hygiene.

Has mom seemed to have a complete personality change?

Your mom used to be caring and loving, but now she snaps at every little thing. If your mellow parent is suddenly quick to anger, it could well be a sign that they are in need of help.

It’s common for elderly people suddenly robbed of their freedom, such as those who know it is no longer safe to drive, or perhaps someone too ashamed of their hygiene to visit friends, to feel sad. If they don’t know how to express that sadness, it might lead to anger instead. If that’s the case, a little help might be all they need.

What to do if your parents need help

If a visit with your parents has shown that they obviously need help, figuring out how to bring them that help is the next step. They may need someone to help them shower, drive them to appointments, do the shopping for them, and other important tasks.

If you are struggling to figure out how to manage this with your family’s busy schedule, outside help may be the right choice. If you think your parents could benefit from a caregiver, feel free to contact the caring experts at Homewatch CareGivers of Overland Park and ask questions.

We’ll be happy to listen to what is going on, and help you find an option that works for everyone—including your parents.

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