Warning Signs of Aging Parents

Have you recently noticed any of the following in your loved ones?

Dad, once energetic and handy, has been leaving dirty linens on the floor and unwashed pots on the stove. Alternatively, Mom, who always took pride in her appearance, neglects to wash her hair or is wearing stained clothes. Perhaps your aging parent has lost an alarming amount of weight. When you ask them about it, they tell you, “Everything is fine.”

These telltale signs may reveal a larger problem with your aging parents’ health and ability to take care of themselves. If they’re not willing to admit it, how do you know if you need to get involved? Use this guide to help you recognize whether you may need to provide your parents with help.

Mood Changes

• Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
• Extreme mood swings
• No desire for social interaction
• Depression

Mobility Issues

• Difficulty with walking or balance
• Painful hip or knee arthritis
• Trouble getting up from a seated position
• Unexplained bruises

Unusual Forgetfulness or Memory Loss

• Missing important appointments
• Forgetting to take medications or taking more than prescribed medication dosage
• Losing valuables
• Stoves and ovens left on

Increasing Confusion

• Uncertainty or confusion when performing routine tasks
• Inability to focus
• Unexplained dents or scratches on a car

Inability to Manage the Home

• Dirty house, extreme clutter, or dirty laundry
• Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
• Utilities like heat or lights are not functioning
• Overgrown yard

Inability to Manage Personal Affairs

• Unopened mail
• Unpaid bills or bounced checks
• Late payment notices or cancellations
• Calls from bill collectors
• Misplacing money

Decline in Grooming and Hygiene

• Lack of bathing or tooth brushing
• Unpleasant body odor
• Infrequent showering and bathing
• Strong urine smell in house

Poor Diet

• Noticeable weight loss
• Lack of appetite
• Poor diet
• Neglecting to cook for oneself

Some of the more severe signs could point to a larger health issue, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, or depression, so be sure to consult your parent’s physician if you’re concerned.