How do you know when it’s the right time to intervene with your parents care? This can be a very delicate situation. You don’t want to alienate your parents by prying too much into their affairs, but you certainly don’t want to wait until you get a call from the hospital ER or worse, your State’s Department of Children and Families. To know when it’s the right time to intervene might take “seeing out of the box”. As adult children of elderly parents, we tend to see them as they once were, instead of how they are today. Look at your parent as if you were someone other than their adult child, such as a neighbor or a caregiver.
Of course most families are ready to act when there are obvious issues or serious incidences, but here are some early signs to look for that indicate your parent may need some intervention sooner rather than later: They drive only when absolutely necessary, only during daytime hours and only to places near home. I suggest to my client’s families that when they are here visiting they have their parent drive them around and go outside of their local comfort zone. If you’re not comfortable with them driving you around, then that’s a red flag.
Unopened mail, insurance or bank statements and junk mail are hidden out of view in drawers, under sheets of a spare bed or under the table cloth. (I’ve really seen this). Of course some obvious clues are late notices and returned checks because of duplication or over payment. Household maintenance projects are left unattended because maybe they can’t see the water leak stain on the ceiling or ants crawling on the counter. Maybe they can’t hear the toilet running. Look for signs of mal-nourishment. Check the pantry for outdated canned foods and the refrigerator for spoiled moldy food. Have they had to tighten their belts to the next hole or two? You can tell this by looking at their belt – there will be a wear line from the buckle from where they normally had it positioned.
Missed medical appointments, vague responses to your questions related to their latest doctor visit (“I’m fine, don’t worry”), or they are using more than one pharmacy. Any of these can be cause for concern.
Above are just a few examples of some early signs that your parent’s functional status is declining to a point of concern. An Aging Life Care Manager with a background in social work, public health, or gerontology can help assess their level of functioning and recommend the most appropriate types of intervention and services. To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.