Recognizing Signs That Your Aging Parent Might Need Some Help at Home

A Man in Blue Sweater Sitting on a Chair

It’s not always the easiest conversation to have, but it’s necessary. When you recognize signs that your aging parent may need more help at home, it’s time to have that sometimes difficult conversation about bringing in extra help. 

How do you know it’s time? You know your parents best, but to help, we’ve created this guide of things to look for to ensure your loved one is safe, happy, and healthy living at home. Keep reading to get our checklist of signs to look for in your aging parents.

Importance of recognizing the signs

Our aging family members may not want to admit that they need extra help at home, especially to their adult children. However, in some cases, they may no longer be capable of safe living at home due to their health or physical ability. 

This is why it’s up to you to look for signs of aging affecting their ability to happily and safely live at home alone. If you suspect they may be struggling or unsafe, you can look into whether in-home medical or domestic support can help or if they are safer moving into a care home or retirement community.

Signs your elderly parents need more support

Here are the potential signs that your aging parents need more help at home. One or two of these may not necessarily mean you need to bring in outside help, but can be early indicators of increasing loss of their ability for independence:

  • Unkept home: If you notice their house is messier and more cluttered than usual, this could be an early sign of their loss of ability (or motivation) to clean. Be especially aware of any expired food they may be keeping, as that can pose an immediate health risk. 
  • Weight changes: if you notice substantial weight gain or loss for no other apparent reason, it could be early signs of sickness, poor diet, depression, or other health issues that should be addressed. Be on the lookout for any changes in eating habits, especially if they begin declining their favourite foods. 
  • Forgetting (or misusing) medication: Keep an eye on any medications they’re taking and ensure they’re being taken as directed and not forgotten or mixed up. 
  • Mood changes: Do they seem moodier or show less emotion than usual? If you notice any changes in their mood, make a note of it and any potential causes (as the reasons may be fixable, such as seeing a physiatrist or helping them tidy their kitchen so they can cook). 
  • Mobility struggles: If you notice increased instability when they walk or increased shaking in their hands, even when they’re not using them, this could be a sign they need a mobility support aid or a health check by their doctor for potential other health issues. 
  • Declining social activities: If they are saying no to having visitors (especially close family), it could be a sign of depression or isolation. They could also be embarrassed that a guest might see they’re not coping well at home. If you’re unable to see your aging parents, see if a neighbour can check up on them for you in the meantime. 
  • Increased “accidents”: If you notice your aging parent is having bathrooming troubles or accidents, it might be time to get some support or daily checks from a healthcare nurse. They can ensure any accidents are cleaned up and support safe bathrooming to avoid injury or health issues. 
  • Decreased vision: Do your elderly parents struggle to find things in their home when they’re in plain sight? This could be a sign of vision deterioration. Deteriorating vision could be unsafe if there are steps or stairs in their home and if they are still driving, so get their eyes checked if you suspect any vision struggles.
  • Unread mail: If the mail is piling up on the counter (or mailbox) and is unread, you could offer to go through their mail together when you visit. There could be many reasons for leaving mail unattended, but it must be read so you can deal with any urgent bills or correspondence as necessary.
  • Memory issues: Do they forget names, turn off the stove, or lock the front door? Memory loss is common as we age. However, it’s still important that if memory loss is worsening, seek medical support or an in-home caregiver to ensure memory loss doesn’t put your parents at a health or safety risk.

In-home support or a care home?

If you suspect any of the above signs are happening to your aging parent, it’s important to get a medical option or support to see if living at home is still safe. If it is, services like Hero Home Care can help your aging parent remain as independent as possible at home. 

Hero Home Care can support your parents with the following:

We can also provide support through our Virtual Care Platform. Your parents can use the platform to communicate with your family and healthcare professionals. It can also be used for telehealth visits and getting in touch with your pharmacist for medication questions and renewals.

Hero Home Care provides personalized home care solutions for seniors who want to stay home and live on their own terms. Contact us today to get a free care consult for your aging parent.