Are you worried about the health and safety of your elderly parent who lives alone? While many people want to stay in their own homes as they get older, it's not always feasible to do so. Many elderly people suffer from cognitive decline or physical ailments that make it difficult to live alone. They may not be able to shop for groceries or cook their own food. Basic activities like getting dressed, bathing, and cleaning could become more difficult.
To compound the challenge, many elderly people will not recognize on their own or communicate to loved ones that they can no longer live on their own. In fact, your parent may even hide signs of their decline so they can stay in their home as long as possible, making it difficult for you to help them decide what's best for their long-term safety.
The good news is there are signs you can look for that may signal that it may be time for your parent to consider a senior living center.
Basic chores are unattended
Does the house look dirtier than normal? Are dishes piling up and laundry not being cleaned? This could be a sign that your parent is struggling, especially if they usually keep a clean house. Your parent may be too physically tired to keep up with cleaning. Or they may have cognitive decline that is making it difficult for them to notice that the house needs to be cleaned. Perhaps start with an offer to help clean or hire a cleaning person and see how they react. If they refuse or they don't understand why it's necessary, you may want to watch for other signs.
They become isolated
Was your parent someone who was very active and enjoyed the company of others? Do they now sit at home and rarely leave? Again, this could be a sign that they are declining mentally or physically. It could be that they tire quickly and the act of leaving is too much. Or it's possible that leaving the house is now confusing and they stay home to avoid the stress.
If your parent refuses visitors, that could be a deeper cause for concern. They may know that their house is in disarray or their appearance is disheveled and they want to hide that reality from others. If your parent has become more withdrawn it may be time to look at a senior living center where they can easily socialize with others.
They lose weight
Rapid weight loss is always a cause for concern. The primary cause may be an illness or physical condition. That's especially true if they are still eating regularly but also losing weight. Another possibility is that they have mentally declined and can either no longer prepare food or forget to eat altogether. If that's the case, they may be better suited in a senior center where meals are prepared for them.
Many seniors are resistant to moving into a facility but then thrive once they get there and get settled. Start the conversation with your parent and take tours of centers in your area.
Reach out to a senior living center near you for more information.
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