An estimated 43 Million people move out of their home state every year, either for employment opportunities, personal moves, or military and government relocation. This means millions of Americans are leaving behind their aging parent or loved one.
As parents and loved ones age, you may wonder, how are Mom and Dad really doing? Are they eating dinner? Are they able to tend to their everyday needs? How can I identify signs of aging, even from a distance?
As discussed in more detail in our article, Caring for Aging Parents Checklist, there are signs that will help you identify if your aging parent or loved ones may need help. Use the guide below to help identify what needs you can help manage from a distance and what needs may require local assistance.
Gather and Organize
Start with organizing your information, create a checklist to help you create clear and organized details.
Assess the Situation
This is an important first step, as this will help you identify areas in which your aging loved ones may need help.
This is something you could do during a trip home or use local assistance. Local assistance could be relatives, neighbors or friends, even hiring an in-home care company.
What are their living conditions like?
–Clutter and Grime. If this is a change for your parent, has it always been clean and tidy? Is there clutter blocking walkways, causing fall hazards? Have they failed to clean regularly?
–Inspect the Kitchen Cupboards. Are there items far past their expiration date? Are all cooking appliances in working condition? Are there signs of smoke or fire damage?
–Home Maintenance. Review the condition of the home. Are there large leaks, working heating and cooling, gutters need attention?
–Transportation. Any recent, dents or dings? Are they maintaining regular maintenance? Are the car’s dash warning lights on? IS there sufficient gas in their car?
–Daily Tasks. Are there piles of unopened mail? Are they continuing to pay their bills? Are newspapers piling up on the front step?
–Forgetfulness. Is your parent forgetting to take their medications? Forgetting important dates or details? These are clear signs that your aging loved one may need some local assistance.
–Hygiene. Is your parent one continuing to care for their personal hygiene? Strange body odor? Wearing clean clothes? Obvious weight loss or gain? Increasingly frail, watch how they walk or move about. Is it difficult for them to get in and out of a chair?
–Contact and Interest. Does your aging parent maintain regular contact? Have they quit regular hobbies? Are they making plans with friends?
Now that you have assessed the situation and gathered information regarding your parent or aging loved one’s living condition, what next?
Did you find your aging parent or loved one is not taking care of themselves or their daily needs? It may be time to move to the next steps in creating a plan in getting them some additional help. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive next month’s article, How to Talk to Parents and Other Aging Loved Ones.
Paths Elder Law, an elder law attorney in the Kansas City, Missouri area is here to help with that next step. Visit our website www.elderlawmo.com for great resources on the elder law process.