When change comes on gradually, sometimes it’s easy to overlook. That’s especially true when it comes to your aging parents. Since they seemed pretty old when you were a teenager and they got along fine, how do you know when it’s time to step in and lend a hand? At Village Green Retirement Campus we offer a continuum of residential options from independent living to enhanced assisted living to meet the changing needs of our residents, but knowing when to start the conversation can be difficult.
The Mayo Clinic has compiled a list of seven signs that adult children need to watch for as their parents age. Rather than wait for a crisis to develop that requires an immediate intervention, if you watch for these signs you should be able to help your parents stay as healthy, active and engaged as possible for as long as possible.
1. Are your aging parents taking care of themselves?
Pay attention to your parents' appearance. Failure to keep up with daily routines — such as bathing, tooth brushing and other basic grooming — could indicate dementia, depression or physical impairments. Also pay attention to your parents' home. Any big changes in the way your parents do things around the house could provide clues to their health. For example, scorched pots could mean your parents are forgetting about food cooking on the stove. Neglected housework could be a sign of depression, dementia or other concerns.
2. Are your aging parents experiencing memory loss?
Modest memory problems are a fairly common part of aging, but there is a difference between misplacing your glasses and forgetting the word for glasses. Forgetting a doctor’s appointment is one thing, but forgetting where the doctor’s office is located is another. If you're concerned about memory loss for either of your aging parents, schedule an evaluation.
3. Are your aging parents safe in their home?
Take a look around your parents' home, keeping an eye out for any red flags. Are there impediments to mobility? Too many stairs? Dark or poorly lighted walkways?
4. Are your aging parents safe on the road?
If you think your parent is no longer safe behind the wheel, it’s time to start making plans for other transportation options. To help your aging parents maintain their independence, suggest alternatives such as taking the bus, using a van service, hiring a driver or taking advantage of other local transportation options.
5. Have your aging parents lost weight?
Losing weight without trying could be a sign that something's wrong. For aging parents, weight loss could be related to many factors, including difficulty cooking, loss of taste or smell or some other underlying condition.
6. Are your aging parents in good spirits?
A drastically different mood or outlook could be a sign of depression or other health concerns. If your parent seems more withdrawn or isolated, schedule an evaluation.
7. Are your aging parents able to get around?
Pay attention to how your parents are walking. Are they reluctant or unable to walk usual distances? If your parents are unsteady on their feet, they might be at risk of falling—a major cause of disability among older adults. Schedule an appointment to find out if your parent might benefit from physical therapy or an assistive device such as a cane or walker.
If you notice signs that your parents are having trouble with activities of daily living, it might be time to talk about assisted living. Assisted living facilities such as Village Green Retirement Campus were designed with seniors in mind.
Even if your parents aren’t ready for assisted living, now might be the time to explore independent living at Village Green. It’s never too early to experience the worry-free lifestyle of retirement living in Federal Way.