How to know when mom or dad needs extra care is a question many of us will face at some point as our parents grow older. When an elderly parent is living with a serious illness it can weigh even heavier on your mind as you try to ensure their wellbeing.

Here’s some common indicators to look for that will help you know when it may be time to talk about extra care for mom or dad, and when it’s time, how to have this important conversation.

Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Extra Care

Neglecting Household Responsibilities

Neglecting household chores is a common indicator that your parent cannot keep up with regular housekeeping activities. This could be due to their declining health and may mean their serious illness is affecting their strength and energy.

House seems unkept
Changes in cleanliness and organization
Spoiled or outdated food
Unwashed dishes
Little or no fresh, healthy food or lack of appropriate food supply
Bed sheets need changing
Unopened mail
Unfilled prescriptions
Wet spots on carpeting or furniture
Insect infestations
Lawn or outdoor areas in need of maintenance

Difficulty with Personal Care

Physical and mental health problems may be making it difficult for your elderly parent to keep up with daily hygiene activities and general self-care. When you visit, keep an eye out for these signs:

Lack of general cleanliness
Unwashed or uncombed hair
Wearing pajamas all day
Stains on clothing
Dad no longer shaving
Clothes or furniture smells of urine

Personality or Cognitive Changes

Personality or cognitive changes can be symptoms of some medical and psychological conditions and declining health. It’s important to recognize these changes and understand when they may signify your elderly loved one’s safety and wellbeing may be at risk.

Mood swings
Outbursts of anger
Increased confusion
Noticeable anxiety
Lack of reasoning skills
Unable to follow a conversation
Difficulty performing familiar tasks
Burn marks on cookware
Unable to recall names of familiar people or objects
Repeating themselves

Declining Health

If your elderly parent is living with a serious illness, they will often downplay any issues they are experiencing. People often don’t want to admit their struggles and don’t want to be a burden to their children. It’s important to look for these signs of declining health:

Less mobile
Signs of weight loss
Sleeping more or spending more time in their favorite chair
Confused about how to take their medications
Trips to the ER in the past 3 months
Signs of falling or unexplained bruises
More frequent infections

Any of these signs can indicate that your loved one’s illness is progressing. You can talk to your parent’s physician about an evaluation from UpliftedCare. UpliftedCare can help you understand how your seriously ill parent is faring and give you guidance on options for extra support.

How To Have The Conversation When An Elderly Parent Needs Extra Support

Now that you’ve done your homework and realize that your elderly parent needs extra care, having the conversation can seem overwhelming. The role reversal this represents is one we’re never quite ready for: becoming responsible for our parent’s wellbeing. It’s also difficult for your parent, facing the fear that they may be losing their independence is not easy. Often, they remain in denial unwilling to accept the truth we see as so obvious. It’s important you begin by understanding their emotional perspective.  They are not trying to be difficult or stubborn, no one wants to accept they are not the person they once were, or to lose their lifestyle. No one wants to feel dependent on others and incapable of caring for themselves. Sharing your concerns, speaking with compassion and asking them what they want can help you guide this difficult conversation. We’ll share additional tips on how to have the conversation about extra care in our upcoming blogs.