Some changes in life are exciting; some are pleasant; some are challenging, and some have all three elements. Transitions accompanying aging are often bittersweet, especially for an adult child watching their parent experience these changes.

The Loss of Independence

One of the most challenging aspects of aging for many is feeling a loss of independence. Some Seniors, both men and women, have led fiercely independent lives. They have handled life on their own terms and accomplished extraordinary achievements in their lifetime. Being suddenly in a part of life where they may need to depend on others – even for the smallest thing – is frustrating and often humiliating.

Identifying Signs of Needing Help

Americans of all ages lead very hectic lives these days. An occasional upset is to be expected with a busy calendar. Know your parents’ lifestyles and when you notice significant changes this could be a call for help.

Noticeable signs of outside assistance being needed are stacks of mail, growing piles of unread newspapers, a lack of interest in prior enjoyments, frequent falls, untaken medicines, choosing snacks and fast food instead of cooking nutritional meals and unkept households. There may be small indicators, but you may notice significant changes if you haven’t seen your parent for a long period of time.

Poor personal hygiene is also a factor in determining whether or not your parent needs help. If they are noticeably not bathing or attending to personal hygiene as they should you will surely recognize it immediately. Lack of self-care is a strong indicator of an issue at hand.

Depression and Other Mental Issues

Changes do not necessarily manifest in physical upkeep and if your parent has extreme mood swings or very low energy, this is also a signal for help. Seniors may become depressed for a variety of reasons and poor self-care with a lack of interest in daily activities results. A loss of interest in hobbies, friends or activities and feelings of isolation are also symptoms. Depression may also be symptomatic of another underlying cause and should be addressed as soon as possible. Depression is one of the top diagnoses in the elderly.

Changes in Normal Behavior

Changes are not always gradual. A serious situation such as a fall or stroke may precipitate a major change. When there are alterations in normal behaviors it is time to visit with your parent and find the type of help they feel is needed. This may be having a doctor do an assessment to find out what is
pre-empting a change in behavior. If your parent is forgetting simple tasks, recent events or becoming confused when attempting a familiar routine, a trip to the doctor for an assessment is definitely in order.

Parents are often reluctant to share concerns with their children. Many feel to do so would be burdensome. Hence, they may try to live in situations that could be corrected. Something as simple as a change in prescription glasses makes a world of difference. Consider the importance of finding expired food and medicine outdated and not taken if the small print cannot be seen.

Your parent may try to hide more serious conditions. It is not unusual for those who are experiencing the early stages of dementia to pretend nothing is wrong. They may deny they are unable to remember how to do everyday tasks or make excuses as to why appointments are forgotten and bills not paid. Your awareness of such changes is important.

Solutions for Getting Help

Help for Seniors is available in many ways. Home Health Care is one choice to help age in place and remain at homes until it is no longer safe. Some Seniors enjoy adult day care. Even more importantly, there are Senior Living Communities offering different levels of care and plenty of activities. Everyone needs a Plan ‘B’.

Bridge to Better Living assists you in navigating the resources needed to find help for your loved one. No one needs to feel they are alone and discovering the pros and cons of transitioning to another style of life without assistance. Bridge to Better Living provides information, resources, and step by step assistance to make your transition smoother and stress-free. Contact BBL to find out more about its mission, Placement with Passion, and how their staff lives it every day.