7 Warning Signs Your Aging Parent Needs More Care

Senior and adult child spending time together

For any adult child, the realization that our parents are aging can be a difficult one. Since childhood, our parents have always been there for us and provided love, support and a sense of security. 

Aging brings changes to all of our lives, including our roles and responsibilities as adult children. Just as our parents protected and cared for us, the time eventually comes for us to ensure their health and safety as well. This oversight is especially important for a parent that is now living alone.

However, how do we know what signs to look for in an aging loved one? And when is it time to step in to assure they receive the proper care?

Says Janet McNemar, NHA, MBA, Executive Director at Bryn Mawr Terrace in Bryn Mawr, PA, “These are questions that many adult children with aging parents ask today. And sometimes, the answers can be difficult to ascertain.” 

“For example, talking to an aging parent on the telephone is often insufficient. Why? Because the parent can ‘fake it’ in a phone conversation and pretend they are healthy and well cared for. Also, many adult parents want to remain independent and do not want to be a burden on their children.

“Therefore, the best way to determine if your parent is well cared for is to make a personal visit and look for the following warning signs that mean they are in need of more care.”

7 Warning Signs that Indicate an Aging Parents Needs Additional Care 

Aging care authorities such as The Mayo Clinic and the National Institute on Aging offer excellent advice on how to determine if your aging parent or parents need additional care. The articles, Aging parents: 8 warning signs of health problemsWhat Are the Signs That an Aging Parent Needs Help? and How to Determine if an Aging Parent Needs Help at Home offer detailed guidance on what to look for.

Examples include: 

  1. Changes in your aging parents’ appearance – Have your parents or parent lost weight? Do they appear disheveled? Do they exhibit poor hygiene? Do they have bruises or burn marks that could indicate falls and cooking problems?
  2. Signs that they are neglecting their normal activities – Is unopened mail piling up? Are bills not being paid on time? Are they neglecting to take their medications and refilling them? Are they having regular doctor checkups? Does the interior or exterior of their home look cluttered or neglected? Is there an unpleasant odor in the house?
  3. Mobility issues – Do they have more difficulty walking and getting around the home? How is their balance? Do they hold on to furniture to help them move about? Are they still able to drive safely? Do you see dents or scratches on their car?
  4. Home safety concerns – Are there safety hazards in the home such as loose throw rugs, cluttered hall ways and slippery bathroom floors?  Are there burnt pans in the kitchen? Is there spoiled food in the refrigerator?                                                                                          
  5. Memory loss and cognitive decline – Do your parents appear confused at times? Are they forgetful? Do they have difficulty completing routine tasks? Do they repeat themselves frequently? Are they a potential danger to themselves or others in the home?
  6. Reduced social activity – Are your parents still socially engaged? Do they still participate in their interests or hobbies? An active social life is considered vital to the health and well-being of older Americans.
  7. Changes in mood and overall emotional state – For an aging parent now living alone, isolation and loneliness are common problems that can have serious consequences including severe depression, hypertension and heart disease. Therefore, be sure to check on your parent’s emotional health as well as their physical status.

What You Can Do as an Adult Child

Janet adds, “Aging care experts advise that if you notice one or more of these warning signs, your parent or parents likely need more care. If that is the case, there are several things you can do.” For example:

  • Have an honest conversation with your parents about your concerns and involve them in discussing solutions.
  • Speak with their doctor(s) about what you’ve observed and ask them for their input. (This might require your parents’ formal permission) You can schedule an appointment for your parent and accompany them on the visit. This will enable you to be their advocate while also permitting you to express your concerns.
  • Research local senior assistance organizations that can provide support such as transportation and meals. The local Office of Aging can provide a list of services.
  • Consider professional care, e.g. a Personal Care community that can offersafe housing, companionship, nutritious meals, services and amenities and social enrichment activities while supporting an independent lifestyle

For more helpful senior living and senior care information, we invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior health topics. We also welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been rated “Best in Senior Care.” 

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “7 Warning Signs Your Aging Parent Needs More Care,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including Short-Term RehabilitationTraditional Nursing CareIndependent Living, Personal CareMemory CareRestorative Care and Respite Care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. 

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at 610.525.8300 or contact us online.

 Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

Bryn Mawr Terrace

Rated Best in Senior Care!

View Our Recent Recognition