As your parents get older, understand the facts of aging and what you should be on the lookout for.
We get older every day. For those of us with aging parents, the progression of time means taking an honest look at our parents’ health and independence. Whether you’re a full time caretaker for your parents or not, it’s important to stay on top of the facts of aging and senior health. Know when to worry about your aging parents and what you need to do to help them.
Are your parents’ financial and legal documents in order?
If your parents haven’t kept up with paperwork and legal documents, it’s time to step in and get involved. Make sure that your parents have living wills. Have your parents assist you in locating all important paperwork. In case of illness or emergency, you need access to this information. ElderCare.gov recommends locating:
- insurance policies
- trust documents
- tax returns
- investment and banking records
Are you aware of the warning signs of declining health and independence?
Independent seniors can begin to show signs of declining health or declining mental abilities at any time. As the child of an aging parent, it’s important to know what to look out for. These signs from the Department of Health and Human Services are cause for worry in that they could be signs that your aging parent requires living assistance or medical care.
- Poor hygiene and personal care. Is your parent showing signs of declining hygiene or personal care, such as failure to bathe or wash clothes?
- Forgetfulness or personality changes. Is your parent forgetting things more often? Is she acting moody or responding to normal events in different ways?
- Unusual or out of character behavior. Is your parent acting unusual? Examples can include no longer participating in hobbies, no longer keeping up with relationships, making strange purchases or mishandling responsibilities.
- Physical changes. Does your parent show signs of injury, such as unusual bruising, burns or scratches? Is she falling ill often or forgetting to take medication?