You’re a fierce and independent woman, but you’re also caring, sensitive and compassionate. There’s no prizes for guessing where you got those qualities from. Everything that you are (for better or for worse), you owe to your parents. They’ve been with you every step of the way. They were sitting on the front row for your graduation ceremony and they’ve helped you celebrate your every victory in life ever since. Every new job, every promotion, and every step you’ve taken to empower yourself, they’ve been right there beside you… But they were also there for the bad times. Through all those messy teenage breakups and formative heartbreaks they were there to hold your hand. When you were sick, they comforted you, and when it felt like the world was just too much to handle they gave you the courage to stand up and fight back.
Now you’ve grown up and flown the nest, but they’re always with you in spirit. But while they’ve been your rock throughout your life, they may need you more than they’re letting on. Here are some signs to look out for in case your parents need a little extra care from you…
Change in appearance
When you last visited Mom or Dad did they look as you remember them, or were they slightly more dishevelled? Were they wearing clothes that weren’t weather appropriate or looked like they’d been worn several days in a row. This is increasingly common amongst seniors who have lost a partner but it can also be a sign of the depression which many seniors feel or it could even be an indicator of Alzheimer’s or physical problems that are exacerbated by the act of changing clothing.
This may be a tricky subject to broach with them but it’s essential to determine whether or not they need care. Care needn’t be obtrusive, just check out Seniors For Seniors. It’s a care company that offers peer care for seniors. They may well benefit from care from someone who knows what they’re going through.
Has it been a while since you heard from Dad? Is Mom turning down more and more social engagements. Lots of seniors become very introverted and isolated and may need some coaxing to come out of the house. This may be an indicator of depression or social anxiety or issues with hearing or sight. Start a dialog with them, and let them know of your willingness to get them the help they need.
Does your Mom call you by your sister’s name? Does she regularly forget her car keys or miss medical appointments? Do they frequently repeat themselves in casual conversation or leave common objects in strange places. Forgetfulness is common among seniors and while it may be an indicator of dementia, this may not necessarily be the case. An assessment may be necessary to help to determine the best course of care for them.
Loss of appetite
Have you noticed your parents gaining or losing a lot of weight recently? When you invite them to dinner do they leave an uncommon amount of food on their plate? Do they forget to cook for themselves and rely too much on fast foods? You may need to enlist the aid of a care or meals on wheels service to ensure that your parents are well fed and nourished.
No matter what, with a little love and understanding, your relationship with your parents can only ever get stronger if you give them the same love and care that they gave you.