Signs that Elderly Parents Need Help

Whether you live nearby and visit often, or faraway and occasionally visit, there are signals to alert you to aging issues with elderly parents. Stay observant for any of the following:

— Out-of-character behavior. Have your elderly parents started skipping a favorite activity, become uncharacteristically negative or mishandled once-easy tasks?

— Using furniture for support. Are seniors getting around a room by stopping to lean on chairs or tables? That’s a sign of mobility issues.

— Shifting eating habits. A simple “what did you have for dinner tonight?” during a phone chat can reveal that Mom is eating cookies for lunch or that Dad is picking up fast food because neither feels up to cooking.

— Calls from friends and neighbors. If a neighbor tells you that your Mom never wants to go out anymore, pay attention.

— Changes in communication. Hearing from aging parents less often can signal that he or she is becoming more forgetful or hesitant to share news. Conversely, an increase in the number of calls can indicate that older adults are feeling isolated.

— Cognitive red flags. If you notice that Mom is more confused on the phone or repeats the same story three times during a call, ask about it.

— Dwindling stamina. While visiting, do an activity with your elderly parents, such as going out or taking a walk. Watch for differences.

— Poor housekeeping. If you’re seeing dishes piled in the sink or your Dad’s prized lawn is suddenly overgrown, you may need to hire someone to help lighten the load.

— Piles of useful items in one place. Watch for a “narrowing down” of living space where things such as clothing, kitchen utensils, snacks and toiletries all accumulate around a certain piece of furniture. That pile could signal depression, lack of energy or mobility issues.

JD Miller

About JD Miller

John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. Phone: (781) 378-2164 Email: [email protected] Website:

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