Keep an eye out for these issues
Ageing can be difficult, but it’s particularly challenging when the person who is ageing is a parent. Over time, life-long relationships can be upended and the parent – who has presumably spent a lifetime caring for a child – becomes the one who needs help. However, crossing that boundary is tricky and exposes all kinds of feelings and emotions for both the parent and adult child. Older people may want to stay in their home and maintain their independence, and that’s completely understandable. An adult child may not want to fight with a parent who’s determined to live on their own. But there may come a time when a living arrangement needs to change for a parent’s safety and welfare. Role reversal is difficult to navigate and it might be a challenge to know exactly when and how much help an elderly parent needs. Keep an eye out for these warning signs that an older parent or relative probably shouldn’t be living alone anymore.
They’ve suddenly lost weight
If you notice your parent is looking thinner than usual, it may be a sign that they’re not eating well, which could be a sign of the beginning of a cognitive illness. Lisa Gwyther, director of Duke University’s Family Support Program, explains that people suffering from memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, often either forget to eat certain meals or forget how to properly manage and cook their food, causing them to lose weight. If this is the case, you might want to discuss the possibility of having a home aide to make sure they receive adequate nutrition each day. You may also consider moving your loved one into your home, if that’s possible, or to an assisted living facility.
Their home is stacked with unopened mail
Towering heaps of unopened mail can be another clear indication of growing cognitive impairment. Gwyther says to keep a close eye out for unopened envelopes from creditors or charities your parents wouldn’t normally donate to. This can be a red flag that they’ve lost control of their judgement when it comes to smart spending, which can drive them into debt rapidly if it goes unnoticed.