10 Signs Your Senior Parent Needs Help

Posted by Enlivant Support Center on April 28, 2023

As your loved ones get older, it’s important to look out for some warning signs to see if they need some extra help. If someone seems to need extra assistance, don’t be afraid to speak up, reach out and start the tough, but important, conversation about what additional care or new living arrangements are best. 

Signs Aging Parents Need Help

Watch for these signs, in particular, to see if your elderly loved one is in need of extra support:

1. A loss of interest in activities or hobbies that they once enjoyed

If you notice your senior loved one no longer wishes to participate in the activities they used to love, they may need extra support in a new place. Hobbies for seniors play a big part in staying active, healthy, and happy.

2. Driving skills starting to diminish or worsen with age

It's common for driving or other skills that require coordination to diminish with age, but if you notice your senior loved one can no longer operate a vehicle with ease, it may be time to explore assisted living options with scheduled transportation included.

3. Poor grooming and lack of personal hygiene

A major sign someone needs extra help is loss of personal hygiene. Most of us don't like asking for help, which is especially true for seniors and especially older men. Many feel shame in asking for help in sensitive personal hygiene matters, which makes them feel weak or vulnerable. Eventually, they will come around when they realize they need help at that stage in life.

4. Unopened mail or past due bills

If you noticed unopened envelopes lying around your senior loved one's house with "past due" stamped on the outside, it's time to develop an action plan for assistance.

5. Showing difficulty in walking, a lack of mobility, or increase in accidents and falls

This is perhaps the most obvious warning sign your senior loved one needs extra support. Falls are a major cause of injury and death, so swift prevention is important.

6. Forgetfulness with taking medications

What's the difference between normal, age-related forgetfulness and a serious memory problem? It's normal to forget things once in a while, but serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things, such as taking vital medications. 

7. Showing changes in personality and/or sudden mood changes

Mood swings and abrupt behavioral changes are fairly common in seniors, but they can still be challenging for family caregivers to witness and manage. 

8. Spoiled food or a lack of food in the refrigerator

Seniors change in their use of the kitchen, cooking habits, and shopping routines. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as changes in mobility, access to supermarkets, or more time spent eating alone. Seniors with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk for food-borne illness. Making safe food choices is a key strategy at any age, but as people get older, this can become problematic. 

9. New signs of depression or forgetfulness

If your parent or senior loved one is displaying mood swings, it could be a sign that they are experiencing depression, anxiety, or another mental health concern. If dementia or Alzheimer's are the driving force behind the changing moods, it's important to act quickly to get your aging loved one the support and care they need.

10. Poor housekeeping or maintenance and unsafe living conditions

Between mobility issues, medical conditions, poor eyesight, and lack of energy, housekeeping for seniors can be very difficult and may require additional help.

If you notice any of these changes in an aging loved one, it’s important to talk with friends, family members and caregivers to start thinking about what to do to help your senior loved one. There are many options for additional support, from in-home care, to assisted living, to senior transportation services, and much more.

If you are caring for aging parents or loved ones who can’t live alone, Enlivant can help you understand your options. The important thing to realize is that you have many options, but the earlier you have the conversation, the more options you do have. Contact Enlivant and schedule a free home visit if you want additional help in determining what your loved one needs. 

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