Transitioning into the caregiver role for your parents can be challenging at first. It is extremely important keep an eye out for drastic changes and to begin the transition as soon as you begin to notice red flags. It will be hard to tell your parents what to do or over-question them about personal aspects of their lives, but catching problems before they become harmful will can save you from tough challenges later on. Bringing in a professional caregiver to take over the tasks they no longer can will be a huge weight off of your shoulder.
Here are a few changes to look for that may be a red flag:
Their daily routine has changed significantly- It’s easy to notice when your parents daily routine changes when you were raised around it, the not so easy part is bringing it to their attention. Have you noticed they sleep in rather than their usual walk around the neighborhood in the morning? Do they find excuses to do more activities at home rather than venture out? A minor change in their daily routine can be normal, keep an eye out for when it goes beyond that point.
Their personality and interests are not what they used to be- We often times get bored of doing the same things over and over. If you notice your parents doing less of activities they used to love doing (i.e., cooking, outdoor activities, fixing up things around the house) you might want to ask them some questions or look deeper into what is going on.
They are not keeping up with their living environment- While for most people with a busy schedule, it is difficult to keep up with a clean home, for seniors it can be twice as hard. If you begin to notice your parents are spending less time than usual mopping, vacuuming, laundry, or simply not cleaning at all, there may be an underlying issue. It will be easy for you to tell when this begins to happen. The sink will be filled with dishes, furniture will begin to look worn out, and dust collected on counter tops and floors will become visible.
They are not taking care of their physical appearance- On your occasional visits, you may begin to notice that your parents haven’t showered or brushed their teeth. Often times, they will try to cover up their body odor by wearing cologne, perfume, or heavy scented lotions. As our bodies age, staying on top of our personal hygiene is important. It could be becoming hard for them to get into the shower, wash their body or to grab a comfortable hold of their toothbrush. While the topic of hygiene might not seem like a sensitive one, it can be for older folks, be wary when bringing this to their attention.
Ask FSL for professional help- Contact FSL’s Care by Design Coordination team by calling 602-285-1800 or click here. They will answer any questions or concerns you may have as well as help you determine what type of help is needed at home.