While our parents choose to live alone enjoying their independence, we constantly worry about their safety. Are they eating enough? Are they taking their medications? What if someone breaks into their house? And that’s just the start because in old age anything can go wrong. We love our parents and we always want them to be safe and sound. Besides taking different safety measures, spend some time with them and observe their behavior. Some signs imply that they need help.
- Weight loss
It is natural to lose a little weight gradually but drastic weight loss can be a serious sign that your parents are in dire need of help. Compare their weight from the last time you met them and the gap shouldn’t be more than a month so you can get accurate results.
- Inability to Do Everyday Tasks
Do you see your parents struggling to brush their teeth or putting their clothes on? When they have trouble doing even the basic everyday tasks, it is obvious that they cannot take care of themselves anymore, let alone protect themselves from mis-happenings.
You’ll often hear your parents say “I forgot” and that’s normal. But if the memory loss is severe it’s an indication of dementia. If they forget names, places, people, get lost in known places or forget doing basic activities then you may have to get them checked. If they’re suffering from it, leaving them alone is risky.
- Not Communicating
Communication goes a long way in keeping a person’s mental health in good shape. If your parents are communicating less with you and other people in general, show no interest in sharing their thoughts or discussing their days, do not neglect it. It can lead to isolation and depression.
- Injuries or Bruises
Narrow and steep stairway, slippery floor, dis-organized furniture and objects, bathroom floor etc. can make them fall and suffer from injuries. And these situations can escalate fast. Install a panic button in their house at easily accessible places for instant help. If that happens too often, they need assistance.
- Mood Swings
If your parents are not their usual self lately, they tend to get angry or irritated too easily then it is obvious that something is bothering them. It can be a small issue like their favorite show being discontinued or something big may be building inside for months which they are not able to convey. Communication is the key to get them out of that zone.
- Unchecked Mails and Bills
Mails piling up and bills not paid in time is suggestive of the fact that they are losing attention. Besides becoming costly because of late payment charges, this shows that they are losing track of important duties. And if it becomes a regular habit then take charge of it for them.
- Forgetting Medications
We know how important our parents’ medications are to them and forgetting to take those on time is a serious NO. Forgetting medications for days in a row, not keeping up with expiry dates, failing to stock up can have serious consequences on their health. This is a clear-cut sign that they need help.
- Unkempt House
Have you noticed your parent’s house becoming a complete mess and it doesn’t seem to improve even after multiple visits? Dis-organized furniture, million items on the floor, dirty bathroom and kitchen, and an unmaintained yard are all signs that they need help either with the work or company.
- Low Spirited
Things like ice cream, kids, friends etc. that used to make them happy doesn’t do the magic anymore. When they seem be low on energy all the time, give fewer smiles, hardly speak and stay emotionally distant, it’s a sign that their mental health is deteriorating.
Taking some safety measures and helping out can ensure that they are safe even when they are alone. Even when staying together, be attentive to their needs and do not neglect their behavioral changes. Be there for them, go to movies or sing songs together and try to bring back the smile.