Your aging parents’ health naturally starts to decline when they reach their elderly years.
Still, for many seniors, feeling good and staying independent depends on personally adhering to healthy lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet.
But as a long-distance caregiver, how can you make sure your parents are properly taking care of themselves? To help, the Mayo Clinic has a guide on what to ask and look for the next time you visit your parents, adapted below.
- How well are your parents taking care of themselves? Note your parents’ physical appearance. Do they have clean clothes? Are they able to keep up with daily routines like bathing and basic grooming? Take note of their house as well. Is the yard mowed and housework taken care of properly, as usual?Â If the answer is no, it could indicate dementia, depression, or a physical impairment.
- Do you notice any signs of memory loss? Sure, everyone forgets simple things from time to time, especially as we age. But if you notice any concerning memory loss, such as forgetting common words or getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, it might be time to have your parent evaluated by a doctor.
- Are your elderly parents safe living at home? Make note of any spots in your parents’ home which are potentially dangerous, such as cluttered hallways and narrow stairways. A few home improvement projects may be in store, especially if either of your parents have fallen recently.
- Are your aging parents able to drive safely? As motor skills slow down and vision and hearing diminish, driving can become challenging for many seniors. If your aging parents become confused while driving, or if you simply doubt their ability to drive safely, it’s a good idea to talk with them about stopping driving and considering other transportation options to maintain their independence.
- Have either of your parents lost weight? When a person loses weight without trying, it’s typically a sign that something is wrong. Common factors of senior weight loss include difficulty cooking, loss of taste or smell, and more concerning underlying conditions like malnutrition, dementia, or cancer.
- Do you parents seem happy? If your usually cheerful parents have a more bleak outlook on things, it could be a sign of depression or other health concerns. Talk to your parents about their activities. Are they socially isolated? Are they still pursuing their favorite hobbies and other activities they enjoy? Depression can be treated at any age, so schedule an appointment with the doctor if you’re concerned.
- How mobile are your parents? How well are your parents walking? Are they unable to walk usual distances, including around the house? Could either parent benefit from using a cane or a walker? Muscle and joint pain–as well as side effects from medication–can make your parent feel unstable when they walk, putting them at risk of falling.
If you are concerned with your aging parents’ health and well-being, there are many steps that you can take to make sure they are properly taking care of themselves.
For one, start up a conversation to openly and honestly share your concerns with your parents. From there, encourage regular medical checkups and address any home safety issues.
If your parents can live longer independently as they are, you may still consider seeking outside help from a local home care agency. Agencies, such as Physicians Choice Private Duty, can address you and your parents’ situation and put together a comprehensive plan to ensure their continued well-being, even if they require long-term care.
Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!
“Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living solves the challenges families face in caring for aging parents, with a focus on strategies that keep them in their homes. To learn more about our solutions, visit http://www.private-duty.pchhc.com.”