Life is a journey, and through this journey there comes a time that we as adult children need to care for our aging parents. It’s only natural not wanting to face the reality, because we grow up with the mindset that our parents are going to live forever.
Some of us however are fortunate enough to have aging parents who do not need any help. They are in fact still contributing to their families and communities. But there are many older adults who do need help from others, especially if they live into their 80s, 90s and beyond. It almost seems as though it happens overnight where things start to change. Our parents start getting forgetful, Dad is no longer able to drive, Mom is starting to lose weight, their clothes may not be as clean as they should be. Our once independent parents are at the stage in their lives where they need help. This is the time when adult children often need to take the reins and review the situation.
Here are the 7 common signs that aging parents need a new home. One that is smaller and easier to manage, or a move into an assisted/independent living community.
Worrying about their Safety:
Has either parent fallen recently? Are they currently living in a two story home and stairs are becoming an issue? Do you notice any physical injuries or a change in their mood? Are they not taking their medication as they should? Has cooking a simple meal become a challenge? This is when you know that a change in their home environment is in their best interest.
Older adults are healthier then ever, but when our parents reach their 80s, 90s and beyond we notice they start to slow down. They are not as active as they used to be. They may have failing eyesight, confusion, unsteadiness, forgetfulness, low stamina, poor health. They may start to withdraw from the things that used to interest them. A combination of these issues are indications that a parent will benefit from more assistance in daily living.
A change in hygiene habits is often a sign that aging parents need help. If your aging parents seem to be wearing the same clothes every day, or if your Dad is consistently unshaven. If he or she is beginning to have an odor, gently suggest that they may need some help with their daily personal care.
If their previously well-maintained home is sliding. They have difficulties with simple chores around the house. Their dishes and laundry are not getting done. The corners of their home have cobwebs. It’s no longer easy for them to scrub the floors or bathtub. Mail and newspapers are piling up on the countertops. Maintaining the outside of the house is too much for them to handle. These are signs that living on their own may not be safe. A clean house is crucial to our aging parents’ health.
Are your parents not paying their bills on time? Are they not able to manage their checkbook? Are there stacks of unopened mail? Are there signs that they’ve been spending excessively? Are they getting calls from creditors? The could mean that there are some underlining issues that need to be addressed.
Take notice if your aging parents are losing weight unexpectedly. This can indicate that they are not getting to the grocery store. It could be physical health issues, or memory issues. Check to see if there is expired or spoiled food in the refrigerator, and watch for empty shelves. These signs could indicate that they are not remembering to eat or are not eating good nutritious foods. A place that provides regular balanced meals could greatly enhance and sustain their lives.
As people age, their circle of friends often diminishes. However it’s important for older adults to have a social life to help maintain a healthy physical and emotional balance. Socializing keeps people young at heart, emotionally vibrant, and mentally sharp. A good assisted or independent living community can offer social activities that can maintain quality of life and mental well-being.
Of course, each circumstance differs. Some older adults will do well moving from a larger family home into a smaller, easier to maintain home, or a single story town home. Some will enjoy a more carefree, lower maintenance home in a 55+ community, or others will need more support and assistance in their daily living. Whichever the case, you know your aging parents best. Follow your intuition if something seems off, assess the situation, and help your aging parents live a happy, healthy and full life.
More Helpful Downsizing Resources:
When the time comes that you decide to sell your parents’ home, you may be several questions. Should we make any home repairs or sell as-is? Is their estate in order? What am I going to do with all this extra stuff? Donate or have an estate sale? These resources will answer several of your questions. For any additional questions you may have, feel free to reach out. I’ll be happy to help!