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20 Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help at Home

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20 Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help at Home

By Marlo Sollitto, editor

Maybe you’ve noticed that dad’s unopened mail is piling up. Or mom, once meticulous about her appearance, is wearing wrinkled clothes and not doing her hair. Perhaps there are bruises on your aging parent’s arms. When you bring up the subject, you hear, “Everything is fine. There’s no need to worry.”

Admitting they need help would mean they can’t take care of themselves anymore, and no one wants to lose their independence. “Denial is the unrealistic hope that a problem is not really happening and will go away by itself. Admitting they need help and accepting assistance is not easy for people as they age. It represents a loss of independence. Denial plays a major role Ė and signs get ignored,” says Paul Hogan, Founder and Chairman of Home Instead Senior Care.

The burden often falls on the family to recognize the signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your loved one has to go to assisted living or a nursing home, but they may need some extra help in their home. If they’re not willing to admit it, how do you know if your elderly parent needs home care? Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • Spoiled food that doesn’t get thrown away
  • Missing important appointments
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Trouble getting up from a seated position
  • Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility
  • Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Forgetfulness
  • Unpleasant body odor
  • Infrequent showering and bathing
  • Strong smell of urine in the house
  • Noticeable decline in grooming habits and personal care
  • Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors
  • Poor diet or weight loss
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Forgetting to take medications – or taking more than the prescribed dosage
  • Diagnosis of dementia or early onset Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Unexplained dents and scratches on a car

What Kinds of Home Care are Available for an Elderly Parent?
When Elders Donít Accept Outside Caregivers in the Home
What NOT to Do When Hiring Home Health Care

20 Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help at Home originally appeared on†

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+ add your own
11:07AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Extreme important info thanks

7:36AM PDT on Aug 10, 2011

great article, thank you! :)

3:43AM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

this is really well thought out. Thank you.

7:43AM PDT on Jun 16, 2011

sorry for repeated words I was distracted.

7:39AM PDT on Jun 16, 2011

This info relates to the USA I think. If in other countries check out health services offered by the health services in your community first, many are income tested fee based which can mean free help or very nominal charge.

12:52AM PDT on Jun 16, 2011

Thanks for the article its very informative

7:45PM PDT on Jun 15, 2011


6:28PM PDT on Jun 15, 2011


6:15PM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

very good read

2:43PM PDT on Jun 15, 2011

Extremely useful, thank you so much for sharing!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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