We talk with adult children across Illinois and Missouri each week who are just beginning to recognize that something is wrong with an aging parent. They often tell us they aren’t really sure if the small changes they notice are a normal part of aging or a sign that their loved one needs more help.
Here are the 7 key warning signs we usually recommend families look for when they are concerned about an aging loved one
1.Change in Behavior
Has your family member become more withdrawn or stopped participating in activities they have always enjoyed altogether? Is your normally gregarious parent grumpy and more difficult?
2.Unintended Weight Loss
Does your loved one seem to be losing weight without trying?
Have you noticed a change in how well your loved one maintains their appearance? Are they a little untidy or disheveled looking? Do they have bumps and bruises?
4.Their Home Environment
What is the condition of their home? Is it different than it used to be? Is the refrigerator full of out-of-date food? The sink full of dishes? Laundry piled up?
Is your loved one getting phone calls from collection agencies about unpaid bills? Are unopened bills and envelopes piled up on their desk or counter? Is their mailbox full?
Does your parent seem to get a little confused from time to time? Do they forget long-time friends’ names or important dates?
7.Condition of Their Car
If your parent is still driving, take a look at their car. Does it have more than a few bumps and bangs?
If you answered YES to more than one of these warning signs, it might be time to consider talking with your loved one’s primary care physician. They will probably want to schedule a physical exam to investigate if there is something more than normal aging happening.