Having elderly parents can be worrisome, especially if you do not see them on a regular basis. With the COVID-19 pandemic and the specific risks of exposure for older adults, many people have had even less contact with their elderly parents than they normally would. How do you know if they are living fine on their own? How can you tell if your parents might need additional assistance?
The following are only some indications it is time for more assistance for your parents.
- Bills are not getting paid, or bank accounts are overdrawn
- The home is falling into a state of disrepair, and your parents are not seeking fixture or appliance repairs or replacements
- They stopped maintaining their regular shopping or cooking schedule and might not be eating meals as often as they should
- There are changes in mood or interactions with others, including getting defensive when asked about their daily life
- They are giving out personal information to unknown callers or letting strangers into the home
- The home has become more disorganized or dirtier than usual, and it might be hard to find everyday necessities
- They display new confusion or challenges when it comes to usually familiar tasks, such as how to work the television or do laundry
- They show little interest in their previously enjoyed hobbies or activities, or they have less energy and signs of depression
- They seem disheveled, unshowered, or are wearing the same clothes repeatedly
- They are forgetting to take their medication, and you notice that their pill bottles are full when it should be time for a refill
- They have a lot of expired food or are storing food in odd places
- They are losing items regularly, including their wallet or keys
- They are missing appointments and having to reschedule commitments because they forgot
- They are confused about who they recently talked to or are currently speaking with on the phone
- They are facing physical challenges, such as having a difficult time getting up from the couch or chair, dressing, or bathing
- You notice frequent cuts, bruises, or other signs they might have fallen or hurt themselves at home
This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, and different people have different signs of struggling to care for themselves. You do not want your parents to live in a state of worry or crisis because they are confused or unable to complete necessary daily tasks. Instead, it might be time to find them the assistance they need.
Know Your Options
There are different options when it comes to assistance for your elderly parents, and the option that is right for you depends on your family’s circumstances and preferences. You might consider home health assistance, caretaking by a family member who has the ability or willingness to do so, or even a move to an assisted living community.
In addition to knowing the best type of assistance, you also need to address how you can legally begin assisting them (e.g., become their power of attorney to assist them with bill pay; or healthcare agent to be able to speak to their doctor about care) and ultimately how they are going to cover paying for increased care. Never hesitate to consult with a California elder law attorney about your concerns.