Are you an adult child caring for your aging parent? Is your aging parent beginning to show signs of forgetfulness that may impact his or her ability to live day-to-day without assistance? If your answer is yes, it may be time to address some aging issues with your parent. You may need to consider bringing help into your parent’s home or moving your parent to a supportive memory care environment, which is a type of assisted living community in which seniors live and are cared for by professionals experienced in dealing with dementia. We understand that this may be a very difficult time for both you and your parent. In fact, you probably have many questions on how to both help your parent understand what is happening now and how to get the help that is needed for the future.
We would like to share with you seven warning signs to watch for that may show your aging parent may need memory care soon. In addition, we also want to provide tips on how to find the right community for your parent.
1. No interest in personal hygiene. Has your parent always kept himself or herself neat and clean? Are you beginning to notice that your aging parent is no longer able to keep up with his or her daily hygiene routine? In fact, do you think your parent may not remember how to follow the routine or how to do each task, like bathing, face washing, teeth brushing, or dressing? This may be a sign that it is time to consider memory care. Now, this is different from a parent who knows he or she needs to do each task but does not have the physical energy or strength to take a shower, for example.
2. The home is no longer clean. Has your parent always kept a neat and tidy home? If your parent’s home is messy, dishes not washed, pet food strewn around or trash not emptied, this may be a sign of forgetfulness.
3. Your parent is getting lost. Is your parent getting lost on a regular walking route in his or her own neighborhood that he or she used to walk every morning? Is your parent unable to find the way to his or her usual grocery store, or maybe even getting lost in the grocery store aisles once driven there by somebody else? These incidents are all causes for concern and it may be time to consider memory care.
4. Your parent is losing weight. A telltale sign that memory care may be needed is weight loss. This is because it shows that your parent may be forgetting to buy food, cook, or eat a meal once it is prepared. However, if it is a question of making it easier by having pre-packaged meals delivered, and your parent can still remember to eat without being reminded, your parent may still be okay. If the problem is that your parent does not remember it is time for lunch, or that he or she is hungry, memory care could provide an environment where this issue is mitigated.
5. Your parent is no longer able to manage his or her medications. With memory issues, tasks such as organizing pills, remembering to take medication, or even maintaining medications are all critical tasks that are at risk of not being completed. Talk to your parent about his or her medications and, with your aging parent’s permission, speak to his or her doctor about solutions.
6. Your parent is continually losing or forgetting things. Losing or misplacing things like keys, the cell phone, or purse may be a sign of forgetfulness. Although this can signify an overactive mind, it can also signify a decline in memory depending on both the frequency and the reaction to it. Is it happening five or six times a day? Does your parent become angry or does your parent even know he or she has lost something or forgotten something? These are important questions to ask.
7. Your parent has the same conversation over and over. We know it is normal to forget parts of conversations that happen, especially when you are busy, but it is different to have the same topic or question asked in a short conversation. Monitor conversations with your aging parent to determine if forgetfulness during a conversation together is increasing.
If any of these signs appear in your aging parent, you may wish to call a Florida elder law attorney to talk about the different options available when it comes to memory care communities. Our office is here for you and your loved ones. Our Stuart estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our office to learn more.