Are Your Aging Parents Staying Healthy?
February 27, 2016
Many baby boomers today are concerned about their aging parents staying healthy and whether or not they are suffering from any health problems. Here we'll discuss some warning signs adult children will want to look for in their parents:
- How well are they taking care of themselves? Note their appearance and whether they seem to be taking care of daily routines of bathing, teeth brushing, and other grooming. If not, this could be an indicator of a physical problem or dementia or depression.
- What does their home look like? Is the bathroom clean? Are the lights working? Neglected home maintenance and cleanliness can also mean there is a problem.
- Are your parents becoming more forgetful? Although everyone forgets things sometimes, there is a difference between what is normal and what could be the start of Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia. Schedule an appointment with their doctor if you are concerned.
- Should your parents be driving? This can be a real sticking point as driving equals freedom in the minds of everyone, and giving up that independence can be difficult. But if they are not safe on the road, then others aren't safe either, and it might be time to discuss other transportation options with them.
- Should your parents be living alone? Is their home difficult to navigate? Have they taken a fall? It might be time to assess whether or not they need assistance on a daily basis.
- Do you notice a dramatic weight loss in your parents? This could signal a medical problem such as an underlying condition, or it could something as simple as having difficulty cooking for themselves or not having the energy to prepare meals.
If you notice any of these issues with your aging parents, talk with them. Share your concerns honestly—even if you are caregiving from a distance. Encourage them to see their doctor regularly, address potential safety issues, and invite friends or loved ones to join in on the conversation. Home care services might be a solution; for instance, someone could be hired to do errands or prepare meals. If your parent will remain in the home, consider a medical alert system so they are able to get help should they need it.
Often parents don't realize they need help—or they do not want to admit it—and it is up to you to remind them that you care about them. Do your best to promote their good health and safe well-being.