son visiting parents during holidays

Posted: December 17, 2021

Senior Living

Noticing Changes in Aging Parents

‘Tis the season when families gather from near and far to celebrate the holidays. If you haven’t seen your aging parents in a while or spent a significant amount of time with them in their home, you may notice changes that alarm you. Some changes are part of the normal aging process, but others might be symptoms of dementia or other serious health issues. The holidays are a good time to proactively look for changes in your aging parents and know the warning signs that it may be time to seek extra support.

Normal Aging 

It’s normal to notice changes in people we haven’t seen in a while, regardless of their age. When visiting with an aging parent over the holidays, keep in mind that some changes in mood or physical appearance are part of the normal aging process. Your parent might not see or hear as well as the last time you visited. They may repeat themselves more often than you are used to, may move slower, or seem melancholy. The holiday season can be stressful and the extra activity and disruption to their routine could cause them to be agitated or display behavior that isn’t typical.

Start by asking a few questions. Are they keeping up with scheduled doctor’s appointments? Have they been feeling unwell? Have they started taking any new medications? Are they getting exercise, spending time with friends, enjoying their hobbies? If they seem lonely or isolated it’s a good idea to find out why. Are they fearful about leaving the home? Have they become uncomfortable driving? Normal aging may affect reaction time, motor skills, eyesight, memory, and hearing, which may affect their ability to drive.  

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia 

While mild changes to cognition and memory are normal as we age, there are some signs and symptoms of dementia to look for. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, memory loss that disrupts daily life may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. If your parent has significant trouble remembering where they are, what season it is, or who close family members are, voice your concerns to your parent. Talk with them about the importance of scheduling an appointment with a medical professional to have an assessment. Read more about signs of dementia and memory care options.

What to Look for While Visiting Your Aging Parent 

Visiting your aging parent over the holidays is an opportunity to look for changes and initiate a conversation with them about their well-being. Some questions to consider:

  • How does the yard and house look? Are things unusually messy or in disarray?
  • How is their appearance? Have they dressed appropriately for the season? If they are usually ‘put-together’, is their hair unkempt or make-up misapplied?
  • Does your parent have unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries that might be from a fall?
  • Is mail piling up? Look for unopened bills or stacks of papers.
  • Look in the refrigerator and pantry for expired foods or lack of food.
  • Is there damage or dents on vehicles?
  • Are their medications organized and stored properly?

If anything causes you to be concerned about your parent, you’ll want to wait for a good time to have the conversation with them. It’s possible they know they need extra support and will be thankful to discuss options if you handle it discreetly and with empathy. Read more about the signs your parent might be ready for a senior living community.

Signs It’s Time for Assisted Living or Memory Care

Most older adults want to live out their retirement years in their own home, and it’s important to allow your aging parent to make decisions about their future for as long as it benefits their well-being. Many older adults thrive at home, but some seniors find themselves isolated and lonely. While aging in place in their own home seems appealing, living alone may mean a loss of independence or present serious health and safety concerns.

Cognitive decline and mobility challenges can make performing the activities of daily living (ADLs) difficult. Your parent may feel frustrated and try to hide these changes from you. It’s hard to admit we or someone we love needs extra help. Proactively looking for changes in your aging parent is better than waiting for an accident or emergency to happen.

Warning signs that it may be time to intervene and have a serious discussion with your aging parent include significant weight loss, loss of balance or mobility issues, neglecting personal hygiene, forgetting to pay bills or take medications, struggling to communicate or use familiar technology, ongoing bouts of depression or increased anxiety. In addition, if their home appears unusually messy or if cars display dents or damage, it might be time to consider if home is the safest place for your aging parent.

Making the move to a senior living community before these warning signs present themselves may make the transition easier.  Read more about the signs it might be time to consider assisted living and the benefits of choosing an assisted living community with memory care.

Assisted Living with Memory Care in Greenwood, Indiana  

At Demaree Crossing, our highly experienced team supports connection for residents and families. Our senior living community in Greenwood, Indiana, is where expert care meets compassion. By taking a person-centered approach, we create environments where residents find purpose and thrive. Our partnership with Golden Age Home Health allows us to assist numerous residents in achieving and maintaining the highest level of independence and personal wellness possible, all from the comfort of their own home at Demaree Crossing. 

We offer a variety of senior apartments to meet the needs of your aging parent.

Our senior living amenities and life enrichment programs include all your aging parent’s needs to pursue a more fulfilling lifestyle. We take the time to understand each resident’s passions and interests and highlight those activities in our offerings. Our Rhythms Dementia program focuses on each person’s natural rhythm of life and incorporates ways to adapt to them. Learn about our unique dining program and teaching kitchen.

When you start learning about senior living, it’s natural to have plenty of questions. But with each answer, you’ll be one step closer to seeing your loved one thrive. At Demaree Crossing, we don’t wait until your loved one moves in to start helping your family. If you have questions, we have answers. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a live virtual tour today.

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