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Post-holiday assessment: Should your senior parent live alone?


senior man looking out the window

You have made it through the holidays. The gift wrapping, shopping, family dinners, travel, and sleep deprivation.   You should feel relieved, but something keeps nagging you in the back of your mind. ‘Did Mom forget to turn off the stove and burned the gravy pan because she was distracted or is it something more? She seemed so forgetful and confused during our visit.’

As family members come together from near and far during the holidays to celebrate with their parents or aging loved ones, many notice that things have changed dramatically since their last visit.   Perhaps their parent has difficulty standing or are unstable when they walk. Some may notice the house is unkempt, dirty clothes are piling up, and food is moldy in the refrigerator, when the house was typically neat and tidy. You may have started to discuss these changes with your siblings and among other family members. You may be concerned that they need help or wondering if your senior parent should be living along.

“We find after the holidays, that we get a spike in inquiries about moving a family member into assisted living,” says Kathy Stewart, Vice President of Nursing at Aegis Living. “Adult children may have not seen their parents for an extended period of time and are alarmed by their living condition, or with their limited mobility, or notice memory loss issues. Look for changes in their typical behavior and trust your gut if you feel like things are ‘off’ in their home.”

After a holiday visit with your senior parent living along, it is a good time to assess the key factors whether they can care for himself or herself?

  • Have they recently lost a lot of weight? Are they eating properly? Are there fresh produce and food in the cupboards and refrigerator? Is food spoiled or moldy in their house?
  • Are they dressed every day in clean clothing?   Are they wearing the same clothing over and over? Have they showered? Brushed their hair? Shaved?
  • Are they regularly seeing a doctor?   Are they going to the eye doctor for a checkup? Have they gone to the dentist?   Do they forget to take medication? Are they hard of hearing?
  • Mobility. Have they suffered a fall?   Can they get in and out of a chair or bed on their own? Are they stable when walking? Do they have unexplained bruising?
  • Mental State.   Are they forgetting key things they should easily know? Are the often confused? Are they having mood swings? Do they can angry or forgetful? Are they depressed? Are they missing appointments? Have they lost interest in hobbies and activities? Are they lonely?
  • Finances.   Are they forgetting to pay bills? Are they getting late notices? Are they bouncing checks?
  • Is it a messy?   Are appliances broken? Is the yard not maintained? Does their car have unexplained dents and scratches?

If your senior parent’s health or personal happiness seems to be compromised, it is time to have a discussion about their living situation and options of care. Depending on their needs, the options could be moving in with you or a family member, finding a senior housing or assisted living community, or arranging in-home care.   These decisions are never easy, but delaying a decision can affect your parent and loved one’s quality of life.

Make it your priority to get your parent the help that they need. If you are interested in touring an Aegis Living community contact us.