People are living longer these days. That is great, but it also brings with it a new set of issues. Many adult children have to take care of their parents long term after they have raised their own children, or even while raising their own children. But, how can you know if your parents need your help?
No parent wants to be a burden to their children. When they get older, they want to remain independent and not have to ask others for help. Unfortunately there may come a day when that will change. With parents and children living thousands of miles apart in some instances, it is often hard to recognize what is normal and what is not normal as far as your parents’ behavior is concerned.
So, what can you do to help your parents? First of all, realize that parents don’t want to be “taken care of.” Having someone else do for them can leave them feeling helpless and demeaned. It is important to understand where they are coming from before you approach them about making lifestyle changes due to their age.
Also understand that you will meet with resistance at first. It is a delicate subject to talk about. Try your best not to lose your temper with them. They will probably say that they don’t have a problem just so they can avoid the topic.
Warning Signs That Your Parents May Need Help
Here are a few warning signs that one of your parents may be in trouble. One, your parent seems to have a lot of bruises on their body. More than likely it is not abuse but a developing lack of co-ordination. When they lose their balance they may hit themselves on tables, walls and chairs. Some even fall down and break bones.
Second, your parent is losing weight. They have sagging skin and a gaunt look that is not related to old age. Sure, skin does lose tone as we age, but the color should still be good if the person is healthy. This may be a sign that your parent is forgetting to eat or not eating enough. Poor diet can lead to bouts of dizziness and loss of strength that can lead to the lack of co-ordination problem outlined in the above paragraph.
Third, their home may not be as clean as usual. We are not talking about simply having clothes lying around or a layer of dust. It could be dirty dishes in the sink, a pile of clothes in the laundry room and expired food in the fridge. They may be having enough trouble getting around that it keeps them from keeping their home in shape.
Another sign could be that they are wearing soiled clothing. Parents who suffer from dementia may have a difficult time remembering what they have or have not done, such as taking a bath or changing their clothing.
These are only a few of the potential signs that it is time to find ways to help your aging parents. When confronted with the problem, find ways to get them the assistance they need, without reducing their independence or their dignity.