Ten Warning Signs that your Parents Need Outside Help
1. Weight loss. One or both of your parents are losing weight. There are halfway-opened cans on the counter, refrigerated items left out overnight, old take-out food sitting around for days or weeks.
2. Too much mess. There are bugs, garbage or clutter throughout the house.
3. You notice frequent bruises. They're falling and not telling you. The stories they're telling you aren't making sense-you can tell they're hiding something.
4. You suspect driving accidents. There are new dents in the garage or on the car. Or, maybe they won't let you see their insurance policy documents or you find traffic and parking tickets.
5. Moments of confusion. They mention they got confused or lost while driving or just walking someplace. They blame others for accidents: "They turned right in front of me, I didn't see him."
6. Cleanliness concerns. You notice they're wearing the same clothes over and over again or are suddenly mismatched when they were always impeccably dressed. They smell of body odor or urine.
7. The house seems dark all the time. All they seem to do is sleep in their recliner or favorite chair. They're drinking or taking sleeping or pain pills-a lot. They don't talk about visiting their friends. They've stopped attending religious services or participating in volunteer activities.
8. Their outbursts are louder and more frequent. They're paranoid about someone stealing from them or trying to hurt them. They may even accuse family members or people they've known for years.
9. Poor choices. They've made some rash decisions lately that worry you-giving a lot of money to a tele-evangelist or charity, buying useless items on television, hoarding or exhibiting obsessive behavior.
10. Hiding forgetfullness. They are forgetting their normal routine, doctor appointments or medication. They're forgetting how to get home or where a room in the house is located (Read the Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease). They avoid answering you, blame others for their confusion and make a dozen excuses.
Consider yourself a care-coordinator.
You can't do it all alone. Don't even try. It's not good for your health, your relationships, and honestly, you're hogging what should be shared-not only the challenges, but the lessons learned and love experienced along the way.
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