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November 20, 2016

We are moved into our new location at Todd’s Center on the southeast side of Lexington in the Hamburg shopping area, but the work to bring the space up to our standards continues. We believe that a beautiful environment filled with art improves mood and aides in healing. Please forgive our mess in the meantime. The words “thank you” are not enough to describe the feeling of love and gratitude I have for everyone who has helped in the process of getting us moved and back to offering our services to those who need and want us.

Each week I send out an email to people who have given me their email address. If you would like to be on the list serv, please give me yours. Below is the information I distributed in the email:

Whether mail is stacking up, food is spoiled or something just seems out of the ordinary, it’s important to be aware of the signs that your aging parents may need help.

Sometimes age sneaks up on everyone. Mom and dad may have seemed themselves last time you visited, whether a month—or even a year—has passed. Physical and mental health decline often surprises family members, especially if aging parents seemed fine on the last visit. The key is to be aware of the small signs or problems that something may be wrong, so that your family has an inkling of health decline and can properly prepare for the future.

Geriatric psychologist Dr. Melissa Henston provides some guidance on how to not only spot common problems, but tips on how to deal with any issues to get your elderly loved one the help they need.

How to Notice There’s A Problem With Your Aging Parents

Aging parents and their children are often in denial that there is a problem. “It’s often hard for parents to admit that they need help, and no one wants to lose their independence,” notes Henston. “But daily living tasks sometimes get to be too much as we age, and it’s important for family members and loved ones to step up and address the problem when this happens—even if it is painful. The problems will not go away and usually need to be addressed in a timely manner.”

The burden often falls on the family to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your loved one has to go to a nursing home, but they may need some extra help in their home environment. And if they’re not willing to admit it, there are signs that your elderly parent needs help.

According to Henston, you can spot problems the minute you drive up to your loved one’s house:

“There are a whole bunch of warning signs that are easy to spot. For example, the exterior of the house has peeling paint, or the driveway isn’t shoveled or the walkway isn’t treated. Once you enter the home, newspapers are still in plastic wrap and mail is piled up. Maybe the house isn’t as clean as normal or has an odor. You can usually tell when something is ‘off’.”

Since a health crisis in the elderly can escalate quickly and catch everyone involved off guard, it’s important to not ignore signs that something may be wrong. Ideally, families will have conversations with their children or loved ones about getting their affairs in order and end of life care well in advance of having any issues, but here are some signs to be cognizant of when visiting aging loved ones for the holidays:

  1. House and yard need care / maintenance
  2. Disheveled clothing
  3. Broken appliances
  4. Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  5. Spoiled / expired groceries that don’t get thrown away
  6. Poor personal hygiene
  7. Cluttered, dirty and/or disorganized house
  8. Depressed or low energy temperament
  9. Unexplained bruising
  10. Trouble getting up from a seated position
  11. Missing important appointments
  12. Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  13. Forgetfulness
  14. Poor diet or weight loss
  15. Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from collections
  16. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  17. Forgetting to take medications
  18. Unexplained dents or scratches on car

If health or happiness seems to be compromised, it’s time to have a conversation and address problems, whether it’s finding in-home care, a senior adult day health center, or a senior living community. It’s important to find the right care options for each unique family situation.

Henston emphasizes the importance of noting anything out of character or outside of normal behavior as there are ways to improve quality of life if independent living in the family home is no longer working. She remembers personally having the discussion of green eggs and ham with her own father. “I told my dad, ‘Dad, you can’t eat this stuff. Ham isn’t supposed to be green.’”

Have we left anything out? Have you had to go through a heart wrenching situation with your aging parents? We welcome your stories. Please reply to this email with your story. To read DG’s story, you can go to her blogs: https://agingwithgraceinfo.org/2014/04/03/background-story-part-v/

This article “18 Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help” by Dana Larsen was taken from the A Place for Mom website.

 

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Call Us At: (859) 539-2147