5 Signs Parents Need Help

Julia Little  |  August 26, 2011

Mother and daughterParents can take their independence very seriously and as they get older, it can be difficult to talk to them about the possibility of transitioning from an old house to a senior living community. To complicate matters further, it's not always obvious that older adults need help.

The Chillicothe Gazette recently listed some categories that families should examine when gauging a parent's needs:

1. Health. If your parents are suffering from chronic health conditions, it may be time to consider stepping in, especially if one spouse is constantly helping the other. Even diseases like arthritis can mark a significant decline in quality of life, because seniors find it harder to run errands and socialize.

Signs of frailty are also important to note, according to the news source. Incontinence, weight loss and bone fractures are just some of the apparent issues.

2. Psychology. Make sure a parent is not just healthy on the outside, but on the inside, too. Mental acuity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and, with The Alzheimer's Association estimating that 5.4 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer's disease, make sure to be on the lookout for symptoms. The Alzheimer's Association can be an invaluable guide for warning signs to watch for.

Likewise, make sure to notice if a parent seems depressed or isolated. A disinterest in hobbies and passions can be one big sign a parent may benefit from a move to a different environment.

3. Lifestyle. The advantage to assisted living facilities is that there are experienced professionals who can work with parents throughout the day to make sure that they are comfortable, safe and engaged. While some older adults may be able to live alone, others may encounter difficulty when navigating the layout of a house or performing housekeeping tasks like cooking and cleaning.

If a senior relies on a cane or walker, then it may be best for him or her to seek out accommodations that are designed to make it easier to move around.

4. Social Well-Being. As their friends pass on or move away, seniors can become isolated and their social networks can dwindle. This can in turn lead to depression and other mental health conditions, so families should make sure that older adults have access to recreational activities and maintain their friendships. If this doesn't appear to be possible, then it may be time to consider different living arrangements.

5. Hygiene. Hygiene is often indicative of both physical and mental health. Caregivers should think about whether a parent is still able to dress and bathe without assistance.