4 Signs Your Senior Parent Needs Help

Coming to grips with loss

No one knows your parents the way you do — something out of character for them may be an everyday occurrence for someone else. Even small changes shouldn’t be brushed under the rug, as they could be a sign of something more serious. Here are some signs to be aware of that may indicate that your aging parent needs help at home or in a community setting, from our senior living team in South Jersey.

#1 – Difficulty with daily routines

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are those things that we do almost unthinkingly each day of our lives, from cooking and bathing to dressing ourselves and moving around the house. For many seniors, these tasks become much more challenging if they feel unsteady on their feet, suffer from arthritis, are ill, or are becoming forgetful.

#2 – Unexplained weight loss

Many people do lose weight as they get older, as appetites and metabolisms change with different stages of life. However, a sudden or dramatic loss of weight without a good explanation is a cause for concern. It may mean that your parent is struggling to do their grocery shopping and prep meals. Illnesses like cancer can cause weight loss, and dementia can also cause people to miss meals out of forgetfulness. Some medications can also cause a diminished appetite.

If you notice significant weight loss, It’s a good idea to have a health check-up to ensure that any medical issues are properly diagnosed as soon as possible. Your parent’s physician can also talk to them about why they might be losing weight. It could be as simple as needing help getting groceries each week or needing to move into a community where nutritious meals are supplied in a dining room or directly to their apartment.

#2 – A messy or unhygienic appearance

Dressing and bathing often become more challenging for the elderly, with arthritis making it harder to fasten buttons and laces. Feeling unsteady can even make showering in a stall with grab bars difficult. If your parent is usually well-groomed, but you’ve started noticing that they are not bathing as often (or as thoroughly) as they usually would, or that they are wearing the incorrect clothes and have a sloppy appearance, it may be a sign that they’re having some difficulties.

Whether the problem is clothing that’s difficult to wear, a bathroom that’s difficult to use, fears of falling, or anything else, it’s an important thing to be aware of to guide your search for senior assistance.

#3 – Changes in mood, behavior, or mental status

Dramatic changes in personality and behavior can indicate anything from depression or social isolation to a dementia condition, stroke, or other illness. Typically, elderly parents who are starting to struggle may show a lack of motivation to do activities they once enjoyed, a loss of interest in hobbies, difficulty tracking time, lack of communication, dramatic mood swings, agitation, and even physically or verbally abusive behavior.

It’s important to watch for these changes because a lot can be done to assist the elderly in these areas. Whether it’s getting on track with professional memory care, getting an early diagnosis on a medical condition, or finding a community like UMC at The Shores that offers the support, social interaction and companionship they deserve, there are many options to help you maintain or enhance your loved one’s quality of life.

#4 – Neglecting the home

If your house-proud parents are no longer able to keep up with maintaining the home or garden and struggle with other household chores, moving into assisted living can take this burden off their shoulders. Not only will the right assistance alleviate concerns about safety, hygiene, and care for your parents, but it will also free up their time to spend it as they want, supporting a better quality of life all around.

When you visit your parents, keep an eye out for low food supplies, spoiled food not being thrown out, stacks of unopened mail, a dirty or cluttered home, urine smells, unusual stains, poor general upkeep of the yard, and scorch marks on pots and pans. These signs can all indicate your loved ones need additional support.

Independent, active, and abundant – Assisted Living in Cape May County

While some seniors may come right out and say they’re finding it difficult to bathe, dress, or get around the house, others find this topic difficult to talk about. Instead, you may notice that your mom who is usually so neatly dressed is looking disheveled or not wearing her favorite clothing. Your dad who usually takes care of himself may stop bathing or eating properly. Whatever you notice, remember to take note of it and start exploring ways of providing assistance that still supports a full and independent lifestyle.

At UMC at The Shores, we offer a welcoming community for seniors of all levels of independence. We also have a dedicated memory care program for residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. We aim to create a warm, active community where seniors get the support they need to live an abundant life.

Contact us today to talk more about assisted living in South Jersey, or visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/theshores/

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