Do your Parents Need Help- Warning Signs

By Kathy Green

One of the tough realizations we have to face in life is that our parents are aging; that our once strong and competent seniors may need help.

Following that-the next tough task is to realize when it is that they need help and to step in and convince them of it.

The burden usually falls on the family to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks.

This doesn't always mean that your loved one has to go to assisted living or a nursing home, but they may need some extra help in their home. Often they're not willing to admit it, so how do you know if your elderly parent needs home care?

The following list of behavioral changes may give you the clues that you need:

Physical Changes


Unexplained bruising (falls)

Trouble getting up from a seated position

Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility

Unpleasant body odor

Poor diet or weight loss

Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care


Mental Changes


Missing important appointments

Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks


Changes in mood or extreme mood swings


Changes in the House and Routines


Less frequent showers and bathing

Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up

Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox

Late payment notices and bounced checks

Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

Forgetting to take medications – or taking more than the prescribed dosage

Unexplained scratches and dents to ca so

Nothing is more difficult in aging than realizing that you can no longer look after yourself and that you need help. This loss of independence is devastating so denial is frequent-an unrealistic hope that a problem is not really happening and will go away by itself.

As family and caregivers of these proud seniors we need to be watchful and honest while sensitive and kind.