This holiday season, you might want to take a little time to consider whether your aging parents need more help than they’re currently receiving. If you haven’t visited your parents in a while, it can come as a shock to see how age has affected them. Also, people who visit their parents regularly can easily miss some warning signs that can indicate that they need assistance. If you are planning on visiting your parents this holiday season, you want to consider the following.
Parents, Memory, and Old Age
It’s very natural for people to experience cognitive declines as they got older. We all become forgetful from time to time, and even the best of us will regularly forget where we put our car keys, wallets, or the television remote control.
But age-related cognitive declines are very different from memory lapses associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Some memory lapses can be warning signs of the onset of these more serious conditions.
For example, forgetting the names of close friends and family, repeatedly asking for the same information, or forgetting key events and dates are often signs of a more serious problem than age-related memory lapses.
Bills and Finances
Even if your elderly or aging parents are free of significant health problems, they aren’t always able to look after themselves in the same way they were in the past. This is often especially true when it comes to financial issues.
For example, you might want to take a look to see if your parent has any unpaid bills lying around. Bills that have been unpaid for a long time can be a significant issue. Also, letters from creditors or mail that has gone unopened for long time can indicate your parents are no longer able to devote the time to manage their finances as they once were.
Hygiene and Cleanliness
Another key indicator that your aging parents have experienced a decline can come from more readily observable sources. If your parents don’t seem to be taking care of themselves, their home, or their possessions, this can mean that they simply need occasional assistance in day-to-day tasks. Sometimes, however, changes in hygiene and cleanliness reflect a more significant cognitive decline.
Evaluating Your Options
If you visit your parents for the holidays and notice any warning signs, you’ll want to consider what options might be appropriate. You’ll also want to discuss the situation with your parents and other family members. Sometimes, a simple change in routine can be helpful, while other situations might require more drastic steps. Regardless of what you finally choose, you should speak to an elder law attorney for advice about what is available to you.