Warning signs - When does mom need my help?

Are you starting to see changes with your parents and thinking you need to jump in and help them? Have you offered to help and they refused to do anything differently?  Many times adult children will start to worry about their parents, but it's not quite time to change anything.  The list below are some warning signs to let you know they may need some help.


Difficulty walking
Frequently falling or unsteadiness (presence of bruising)
Poor hygiene or grooming (wearing stained clothes, body odor, infrequent bathing or washing hair, wearing the same clothes day after day)
Changes in eating habits (snacks only, decreased appetite, eating one meal a day, forgetting to eat, poor food choices, lack of food in the home)
Unsafe home environment (unclean, cluttered walkways, poor lighting, home needing repairs, broken or missing smoke detectors, lack of security-leaving doors unlocked, leaving stove on)
Significant weight loss or gain


Unpaid and past due bills (especially home insurance, utilities, home mortgage)
Unopened mail
Unable to manage checkbook
Unable to deal with money properly
Victimized by scams or financial abuse


Delusions or hallucinations (perception of objects or events that others don’t see, holding false beliefs)
Calling children repeatedly at inappropriate hours of day or night
Poor or decreased judgment
Paranoia and forgetfulness
Wanders off and can’t find their way back home
Leaving stove on, unplugging refrigerator
Little or no recognition of friends or family members
Forgetting to take medications, or taking them improperly
Increasingly forgetful (missed doctor's appointments, family events, forgetting names, word finding difficulties, losing things)?
Frequent repetition,
Physical/verbal abuse


Mood changes (anger, suspicion, paranoia, agitation)
Depression (crying, sadness, lack of energy, increase or decrease in sleeping and/or appetite, feeling hopeless)
Lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities (isolating, no longer participating in social, church or volunteer activities)?

Are you or other caregivers unable due to constraints of physical distance, time, physical ability, or finances to deal with managing the care of your elder?


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