Aging Parent Care-Loss of Attention Signals

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,665
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care discusses how to recognize the signs of aging and need for care for your parents. In this video she discusses loss of Attention Signals and Environmental Clues.

    Aging Parent Care.

    Loss of Attention Signals and Environmental Clues.

    Mary Alexander: Hi, I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care and today I am discussing how to recognize signs of aging and need for care for your parents. As we continue our look and see signs of aging, we're going to focus on the behaviors that signal or lack or a loss of attention.

    Look at your senior's appearance, is clothing dirty or unkempt or is your loved one neglecting personal hygiene? If anything seems off, such as a failure to keep up with daily good grooming habits, it could be a sign of depression, dementia or other health issues.

    If your senior is still driving, go for a ride and look for diminished driving skills, such as slow response time or rolling through stop signs. Other warnings are missing turns, because they can't read the sign or braking quickly to avoid rear ending someone.

    Much media attention has been paid lately to elderly drivers, while no one wants to see anyone lose this vital peace of independence, it's more worrisome and dangerous if their driving skills are impaired due to physical ailments. In fact, not only is your loved one's life at risk, they're also putting the lives of others in danger as well.

    Other signs you can look for that demonstrate difficulty concentrating or memory loss, or a lack of interest in reading, missed appointments and mishandled medication. Look and see if there are partially read books and magazines lying around, carefully examine prescription bottles, check the refill date against the number of pills in the bottle to help determine if your senior loved one is taking medications regularly. You can also call the pharmacy to check the status of timely refills.

    Memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion can also reveal themselves through missed doctor's appointments, improper placement of items around the house or making repeated phone calls to you at odd hours. Poor judgment can also come in the form of deciding against going to the doctor, because your parent just went last week, even though it was a different doctor for a different health issue. Certainly, any or all of these signs cause frustration and concern, but don't worry, there are ways to cope and to get help, but before we discuss the ways to take action we're going to talk about one last place to look for clues, and that's in your loved one's living environment.

    Next time you go to visit your loved one, take a really close look around. Poor house keeping and lack of home maintenance are sure signs that something isn't right with the senior. Specifically take a look in the refrigerator, freezer or drawers. Has food spoiled because your parents aren't eating or is there nothing in there, because they can't get to the grocery store?

    If it's really messy, that could be a sign of having difficulty cleaning tight cluttered places. Look on top of the furniture and counter tops, are dishes piling up in the sink? Are dust and dirt signs that the household tasks are simply becoming more difficult and are therefore going undone?

    In addition to examining what's at eye level, you should also take a close look both up and down. Check out any fans and ceilings. Has the inability to lift arms and climb stools prevented your loved one from cleaning soot and grime from high places? Look down at floors and stairways have shaky hand spilled drinks and food soiling vinyl, wood, carpet and walkways? Are frayed carpets, throw rugs, objects and furniture creating tripping hazards?

    While you're looking down you should also check under beds and sofas. Is there a new clutter lying about, for instance, is your senior having difficulty organizing old newspapers, books and magazines, which are creating a fire hazard? Lastly, look through the mail. Are bills being paid and correspondence being answered? If not, it could be a sign of something serious.

    All of these environmental clues point to the fact that something needs to be done to help your loved one remain independent. But what can you do? Where do you find help? What's the first step?

    In our next video we'll answer all of these questions and point you in the right direction to get the help you need.