Having the aged care conversation

At Christmas time the ageing of parents often shocks adult children.

Having the aged care conversation

At Christmas time the ageing of parents often shocks adult children. Since they last saw them, their elderly parents often seem to have become increasingly frail and perhaps confused or withdrawn.

Ageing parents are often incredibly adept at hiding the fact that they are struggling to manage at home where their regular routines and familiar surroundings make it easier for them to cope on their own. But when these routines are disrupted, or they are removed from their home, it becomes apparent that all may not be as well as they would like you to think. 

So, what are the signs for which you should be on the lookout?

  • Notice or look at their personnel grooming and general appearance.  Are their clothes clean and do they look like they are attending to basic personal care and hygiene?
  • What condition is their home in? Does it look neglected? Are housework tasks, such as laundry, piling up? Does the garden look as though they’ve lost interest in it? These could be clues to a decline in health and may even indicate depression or dementia.
  • While occasionally forgetting appointments and losing glasses is normal, forgetting common words or getting lost or confused in familiar places may not be.
  • How is their sight and hearing? If they’re still driving it’s important to make sure they’re fit to do so. 
  • Are they reluctant to leave the house or pursue the activities they used to do?
  • Have they lost weight? This could be a sign of a health decline, depression or early signs of dementia. Check what food is in the cupboards and fridge to see if they have access to fresh food.
  • Are they in good spirits and happy to chat about what they’ve been doing? If not, then this, too, may be a sign of depression. 
  • How are they at getting around? Are they finding it difficult to walk reasonable distances or navigate through their home?

If this sounds familiar and alarm bells are ringing, what can you do?
It’s never too late to talk to your parents and, while they may try to trivialise or brush aside the issues, this is usually due to pride and not wanting to be a burden. They may also fear that they will end up in a nursing home and are concerned that they won’t have control over the type of care and support they are given. It’s important to remember that there are other options to residential care and that they can remain independent in their own home for years to come. 

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    16th Dec 2014
    I've found more important (Fun) things to do unstead of housework.
    Precious 1
    21st Dec 2014
    Yes so have I...PC etc.....time flies when you online.....lol
    Precious 1
    21st Dec 2014
    I am 77 now and have just started a Friday Club for seniors etc and we have a lovely dinner as well.....its been the best think I could have done...I was getting depressed as living in a elderly retirement block of 23 units and watching them deteriorate, slow down and withdraw from socialising made me feel very down.....I thoroughly recommend it as all there are not senior so there is a mix of age groups....next year I am going to try more things to occupy myself as some friends of mine are busy 7 days a week half a day sometimes but nevertheless happier seemingly .....
    Precious 1
    19th Mar 2015
    I am quite incensed to read that list and also a posting about elderly people who once were the stalwart backup for our families when in crisis and need and we used to rush to their side at almost a moments notice......with working families now so many things have changed and become almost extinct...the joy of seeing families at weekends etc has gone down the gurgler and even Birthday presents sent are never even acknowledge as received..indeed on even said they had never ever received a present so further presents and cards were sent registered post and still not acknowledged with a fone call or a Hi Nan........its so sad its making me upset typing this now......we have to accept these things and move forward as we are contstantly being told.......
    Precious 1
    19th Mar 2015
    I still maintain a number of elderlies often do die cause they lack company and not meaning living in retirement villages...living in their own isolation houses, apartments, flats.......having a special friend either man or woman would be something to look forward to and focus on...It destroyed almost my Mother when Dad died......and Grandmother the same...these people were happy people with little in comparison with todays possessions.....we should all be ashamed.......worshipping idols or icons money being the biggest and then trying to hide these things when the pension for all it seems comes around....

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