Watching older parents age is never easy. At a certain point though, a loved one can go from naturally aging to a sharp cognitive or physical decline. Being aware of their well-being and checking in with your senior loved ones is crucial.
With winter months fast approaching, an excellent opportunity presents itself to see how your parents are behaving and how mobile they are. However, you may not get the full scope of their current mental and physical state unless you’re able to see their living conditions. If you are able to go to their home, look out for the following warning signs that they may not be safe living home alone anymore:
Expired Food and Medication
If your parents develop dementia or have problems with remembering to throw away old food and medicine, the excess can quickly build up. Extra expired food and medication lying around can cause confusion about which are safe to consume. If your parents are consuming expired medication or spoiled food, this quickly presents a situation in which they are no longer safe living at home alone.
The pandemic put into sharp focus the dangers of a loved one living in social isolation. However, it is important to keep in mind that your mother or father doesn’t have to be alone to experience social isolation. If their spouse has Parkinson’s or another degenerative disease, they may be experiencing extreme loneliness even as they live with their loved one. Be sure to check in on your parent, whether they’re alone or are serving as a primary caregiver to their spouse.
Even the most active person will slow down eventually. Physical frailty is one of the easiest warning signs to spot in a loved one. If your senior parent lives in a multi-story home and is having trouble getting up and down the stairs, they may not be safe living at home anymore. Other signs of physical frailty include an unbalanced gait or sitting in one spot for hours and then experiencing pain when they stand up.
Another easy warning sign to spot is bad hygiene. You’ll likely notice this even if you aren’t looking for it. If your parent is forgetting to shower, neglecting to shave or is no longer doing their laundry regularly, this may be a sign of cognitive decline. In fact, poor hygiene is one of the first things to appear in seniors when they’re depressed, malnourished or declining mentally.
When you begin to notice any of these warning signs it may be time to consider an alternative living arrangement, such as an independent or assisted living facility. Reputable senior care facilities, such as Hoffman SummerWood in West Hartford, offer a safe and comfortable environment where residents can receive the support they need with the freedom to live life to the fullest in their own way. If you have concerns or questions about your loved one’s well-being, don’t hesitate to contact their primary care provider. To learn more about senior living and find out which option is the best fit for your loved one, take our brief survey or call Hoffman SummerWood at (860) 523-3808.