10 Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Extra Help at Home

As parents age, their ability to manage day-to-day tasks often declines. You may notice your mom or dad struggling with activities they once handled independently. This likely signals they require extra assistance to remain safe and healthy at home.

Look for these 10 warning signs that indicate it’s time to get additional support for an elderly parent.

Difficulty Managing Medications

Keeping track of multiple medications each day becomes challenging for many older adults. Your parent may forget doses, take pills at the wrong time, or mix up which drugs to take and when. Missing or mixing medications can cause significant health issues. If you find expired prescriptions or double doses, consider getting a weekly pill organizer or asking a home health aide to oversee their medicines. A pill organizer with alarms can help remind your parent when to take each medication. You can also ask their pharmacist to deliver medications in pre-sorted packets.

Falls and Other Safety Incidents

Seniors are prone to falls due to muscle weakness, balance issues, vision problems and side effects of medications. Falls often signal that an aging parent needs more help. But also note smaller accidents like frequent cuts or burns while cooking. These may indicate declining motor skills or cloudy thinking. Increase supervision and assistance to prevent future safety problems. Install grab bars and railings, and improve lighting to make their home environment safer as well.

Signs of Depression

Many elderly people suffer from depression triggered by grief over lost abilities or independence. Look for tearfulness, irritability, changes in sleep or appetite, decreased energy and lost interest in activities. Getting extra resources to enable social interactions, activity participation and mental health treatment can help lift their mood. If left untreated, depression can worsen other health conditions. Encourage them to open up to their doctor for assessment.

Forgetting to Eat or Drink

Appetite naturally decreases with age. But watch for extreme appetite loss or simply forgetting to eat enough calories daily along with staying hydrated. Unplanned weight loss, urinary tract infections, weakness and confusion can set in. Having someone visit to prepare nutritious meals and provide regular reminders about eating and drinking may be necessary. Ensure easy access to water and keep healthy snacks readily available.

Household Mess and Uncleanliness

Notice whether trash begins overflowing, laundry piles up or dishes sit unwashed in the sink. Lack of energy and deteriorating eyesight and flexibility make it harder for the elderly to keep things tidy and sanitized. Some additional housekeeping assistance can restore order and prevent safety and health hazards. Hire an organizing company to develop efficient storage solutions in their home.

Decline in Personal Hygiene

Does your previously well-groomed mother now seem to neglect bathing, dental care, and dirty clothing? Failing to routinely wash their body or laundering clothes can compromise health and dignity. Schedule a home health aide to assist with grooming while providing cues about good hygiene. Provide verbal reminders about grooming routines to motivate them to keep up appearances.

Difficulty Driving Safely

Advancing age causes a decline in the abilities needed for safe driving like vision, processing speed, motor skills and reaction time. Has your parent gotten lost in familiar locales or had slow responses to road hazards and traffic signals? Getting refresher driving classes or using senior transportation services might be wise if driving appears hazardous. Set up alternative transportation options in advance so they feel less resistance to giving up driving.

Problems Managing Finances

Balancing the checkbook, paying routine bills, and managing healthcare finances often overwhelm the elderly. Look for signs like calls from creditors, utility shut-offs or unusual bank account activity. Hiring a daily money manager to organize financial records and obligations could ease stress. Automate bill payments to avoid late fees and interest charges. Be aware that older people are more susceptible to crimes of deception, like agreeing to have work done when doorstep salespeople call by, or falling for telephone scams. Keep a close eye on your parent’s spending, so you can stop small problems before they snowball into major issues.

Combativeness and Confusion

Your once mild-mannered father now picks fights with family or acts paranoid and suspicious is a sign something is changing. Changes in behavior like this might indicate dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Memory care services tailored to cognitive impairments provide engagement and structured routines that reduce agitation and confusion. Avoid arguing and instead reassure your parent feeling threatened by mental decline. It can be really scary for a senior once they start to feel out of control and unable to manage their emotions.

Difficulty Doing Household Chores

Notice if laundry, yard work, and household repairs pile up. Do they struggle to prepare meals or keep areas tidy? Arthritis, low vision, and decreased stamina make chores tedious or dangerous. Call on neighborhood helpers, and church groups or hire cleaning services to keep their home maintained. Divide tasks into smaller steps with frequent breaks to prevent fatigue and frustration.

The Benefits of Home Care Services

Many seniors wish to remain living comfortably in their own homes rather than move to an assisted facility. This enables them to preserve independence and familiar surroundings. Yet declining mobility, chronic conditions, and memory changes increasingly interfere with completing everyday tasks unaided. Getting supplemental support from a reputable home care agency provides the extra assistance needed while allowing older adults to age in place.

A home care agency in Katy, TX, for example, offers support to help seniors stay at home for longer. Home aides can assist with mobility, bathing, dressing, and medication reminders. This lifts the burdens of essential activities so seniors conserve energy for social interactions and hobbies improving mental health. Caregivers also monitor overall wellness to catch problems early preventing small issues from becoming emergencies.

Studies show assisted living services in a senior’s residence delay the point where transitioning to a nursing home becomes necessary. With extra resources relieving the daily stresses, many elders happily maintain self-sufficiency despite age-related limitations.

Getting extra assistance enables vulnerable seniors to stay at home safely while remaining socially engaged. Consult a geriatric care manager if you’re overwhelmed with sorting options. With support, many elderly happily maintain independence despite age-related limitations.