Warning signs mom or dad shouldn’t live alone
Realizing that your parent(s) shouldn’t be living along can be scary and difficult to accept, but learning they shouldn’t be alone too late is even worse. Knowing the signs to watch for as mom and dad age can help to ensure they live a full and happy life. There are several signs to be aware of when trying to determine if they need more assistance, not only for themselves, but for their home as well.
Condition of the home
If your parent(s) never really kept their home tidy, this is not a red flag, but if they kept it in good order, a decline in home maintenance can be a sign of depression or the physical inability to perform household chores. Some examples of neglecting home maintenance are:
- Trash piling up,
- Dishes piling up in the sink,
- Laundry remaining unwashed,
- Spoiled food in the refrigerator or left out around the house,
- Spills being left uncleaned,
- Bathrooms becoming filthy,
- Leaving cloths and other clutter on the floor,
- Heaps of unopened mail,
- Unpaid bills.
Trouble driving or anxiety around driving
The ability to drive provides an enormous sense of independence and if your mom or dad no longer feels comfortable driving or has anxiety about driving, this could be a sign they need more assistance. As we age, the likelihood of a person becoming dangerous behind the wheel increases and that could include them not paying attention to or following the rules of the road. This could be an indication of a change in their physical or mental capabilities. If your parent(s) are becoming more reluctant to drive and it is something that they once enjoyed doing, a further examination of their overall health may be necessary by a medical practitioner.
Neglecting personal hygiene
Neglecting personal hygiene is a serious indicator your mom or dad should not be living alone, and it is something you will notice as son as you see them. The cause of this could be mental, and in other cases it could be physical. Failing to brush their teeth, shower, or wear clean clothes is the most concerning sign and elder care intervention is necessary. Some of the reasons hygiene may be neglected are:
- They have physical trouble or feel unsafe taking a shower
- They forget to take care of themselves every day and do not realize it
- They are clinically depressed and feel unmotivated.
Unexplained weight loss
Unexplained weight loss can be cause for concern especially if your parents have not changed their diet, physical exercise habits, or started a new medication that may cause weight loss or reduce appetite. Rapid weight loss can be an indicator of many issues including:
- Being sick without knowing it,
- Losing their ability to safely use their kitchen,
- Forgetting to eat regularly,
- Experiencing clinical depression and experiencing a reduced appetite.
Wandering or getting lost
If your parent(s) begin to wander away from their home, get lost, and cannot find their way home is gravely concerning. Not only is your mom or dad’s memory beginning to deteriorate, but there is a great concern for their personal safety and elder care intervention should begin as soon as possible. Some intervention methods can be:
- Having a trusted neighbor check in on them frequently
- Have your mom or dad stay with you until additional safety measures can be put in place
- Have a family member or trusted person stay with them until you can find them a safe place to live
- Find your mom or dad a caregiver that can spend time with them and prevent them from wandering.
They aren’t very mobile, or they begin falling
Your parents’ health, safety and overall well-being is so important, and these signs may help you determine if your parents are living their best life. And remember, if you begin to grow concerned about your loved one, consult professionals to help you navigate next steps.