We’ve included many signs your parent or loved one, can’t live on their own, read more below.
One of the first and most obvious signs that your parent isn’t coping well at home on their own is the state of their home. Your parent may have once been very clean, organized but now the inside of their home is messy and disorganized. There may be dirty laundry everywhere, dirty dishes piling up in the sink or on the counters, moldy food in the fridge, or no food at all. These are all warning signs that there are issues in the home that need to be paid close attention too. It may mean bringing in someone to come help out with housecleaning, and with doing some chores around the home. Or it could be a sign that they may need to be moved to a care facility to have their meals provided, and their accommodations taken care of for them.
A common sign of problems with parents living on their own and having difficulty is over-medication or under-medication. Your parent may have started drinking alcohol or using drugs which is something that they would normally not do. Any unusual behavior maybe important to address before it becomes a bigger problem.
You may notice that your parent has gained a significant amount of weight or lost weight. If so, they may not be eating properly, or at all. Be mindful if you notice any changes in weight because this could be a symptom of poor nutrition, lack of appetite or an unhealthy diet.
Your parent may start showing signs of noticeable bruises, sores or cut on their face, head or body from a fall. They may not remember how they received these marks or be covering up for a spouse that could be physically abusing them. Finding out more about these bruises, cuts or sores is critical to ensuring your loved one is living a safe quality of life.
If you are the P.O.A. (Power of Attorney) for your parent and you’ve noticed that their bank account has been drained of all their money or there are large amounts missing, that could be a sign that they are not coping well at home and with their finances. Their credit cards may be maxed out with strange purchases coming to the home. Junk mail maybe starting to pile up around the house and an increasing number of charities have been sending information looking for donations. This could be a sign that your parent may be giving to every charity that they know about. A big red flag could be a continuous increasing amount of strangers coming to the door asking for money, whether legitimately or not.
You may also notice unpaid bills or utilities have been turned off due to misplaced or unpaid bills. Or bill collectors have been calling which can be causing your loved one stress because he or she doesn’t understand why he or she is receiving these calls.
Should You decide to Move Your Parent
If you decide to move your parent into your home or a family members home, keep in mind this is a life changing decision for both you and your parent with Alzheimer’s Disease. Not only is it a huge transitions for everyone involved but for the parent it can add more confusion to their already confusing life. It’s critical that should this situation not work out for one reason or another that you have a backup plan. Creating a backup plan prior to the move will help with the move, reduce the stress on the parent too. When I suggest a backup plan I mean having somewhere else for that parent to move too whether it’s a siblings home or a care facility.
Sometimes when a parent moves in with us we may not have realized before this that they have more needs than we first thought. It’s not a sign of failure if their care needs become too much for you to handle in the home. It’s a sign of strength to recognize this and not only ask for help but seek out help in your community such as your local health care centre or through your family doctor who can direct you in navigating our complex health care system. Integrated Home Health which is accessible by contacting Interior Health for more information.
- Talk to your family first
- Explaining the situation to your children
- Talking with your spouse
- Consider your relationship with your parent
- Work and activity schedule
- Increased living expenses
- Create a backup plan
The “Talk” with Your Parent
The talk with your parent means having a discussion with your parent about moving them in with yourself, or another family member. It’s important to remember these tips when having a conversation with anyone with Alzheimer’s Disease:
- Keep the conversation positive and brief.
- Do not yell or argue because this causes your parent to have stress and with Alzheimer’s, you need to reduce their stress and not add to it.
- Discuss the benefits of moving into the family home.
- Only make promises you can keep. You need to build trust with this parent.
- Include your parent in the planning of this move, but if you notice your parent becoming agitated or stressed out during this conversation, break the planning into small tasks so he or she is not overwhelmed.
- If your parent has a house pet, try to accommodate by bringing the animal into your home. Pets are a great comfort.
- Ask your parent’s opinion and incorporate what he or she wants into the planning.
- Reassure the person that you are always going to be there for him or her.
- Do not focus on negative issues or past conflicts. This is about here and now.
- Focus on the current issues.
- Never, ever talk down to your parent. Treat them with respect and maintain their dignity.
Enlist the assistance of their family doctor
Contact a therapist or counselor that is local.
Contact the Alzheimer’s Society
Power of Attorney and Health Care Directives
In addition to her research and writing, Christina Fenske is the Co-Owner and Director of Orchard Valley Counselling Services – an organization that brings evidence-based practice (EBP) which combines well-researched interventions with clinical experience and ethics, and client preferences and culture to guide and inform the delivery of treatments and services. Using strategies that empower individuals, couples, groups and the business community.
Photo. Barbara Webb