Have you been getting worried about your aging parent, or wondering if they are ok continuing to live as they are?
Maybe they’ve been mostly okay but now you’re spotting some problems with memory, such as forgetfulness or asking the same questions repeatedly. Or maybe you’ve noticed trouble with driving, keeping up the house, managing stairs, or paying bills.
Some aging parents simply begin to seem more withdrawn. Others start leveling accusations at others, claiming someone took or moved something, or acting paranoid.
When families notice these types of changes, it’s often really hard to know what to do next. How do you know if they really need help or not, and what kind of help to get? And what do you do if they refuse to discuss it, or get mad when you bring it up?
Since this is such a common dilemma for families, I’ve recorded a video, explaining exactly what you can do, if you’ve noticed some worrisome changes in your parent and are trying to figure out what to do next. Here’s how to know if your aging parent needs help, and how to talk to them about your concerns.
This video covers:
- What mental changes are normal as people get older, and what’s not normal
- The three types of problems you’ll want to check for
- Specific signs to check for, to detect possible memory or thinking problems
- How to tell if your parent needs more help around the house or with their daily life
- The safety red flags I usually check for
- A more respectful and effective way to talk to your aging parent about how things are going
- What to stop doing and what to do instead, to reduce conflicts
If you’ve been worried about whether your parent is ok, take a few notes on what to check for and how to talk to your parent.
And then, try this out next time you visit!
Questions? Post them below!
What if it’s your spouse? My spouse is 14 yrs older. I have concerns and he blows it off.
Nicole Didyk, MD says
That must be frustrating for both of you.
Many of the changes that can be observed in an aging parent would be noticed by a partner as well. It’s tricky to point out shortcomings or changes in a partner. Anyone who’s received an answer to the question: “Do I look good in these pants?” understands that.
It may be helpful to get another point of view that your partner would feel is objective, like a doctor. You can share what you’ve observed with your husband’s family doctor and encourage him to make an appointment. No matter what, preserving your relationship with your partner is key, whether he’s living with dementia or not.
The Alzheimer Association has support for those who are in very early stages of dementia, or even if you’re pre-diagnosis. I recommend getting in touch with them for advice on how to bring up the topic and get help.
Dave Beine says
Very well done Doctor. I liked the way in which you are informational and understanding. The oldest job I have every had is “Growing Old”. With your help perhaps the gap between yesterday and today can be made more understood by all. Good job, and “Thank You” for all the work you have done and are doing to be a bridge between generations.
Dave B 11/20/21
My parent needs help! We changed her living situation and now she is planning on leaving the new residential care living situation. Final neurologist evaluation isn’t scheduled until January.. she is not waiting for that to be completed. When would a professional REQUIRE someone to accept help? What type of medical professional can we reach out to that would insist/is allowed to make an individual take care of themself? I Just bought the book after receiving emails for a few months. Hoping for more helpful insights.
Nicole Didyk, MD says
I’m so glad you ordered a copy of Dr. K’s book, and I know it’ll be helpful!
Meanwhile, I hear your frustration and you’re not alone. It’s very difficult to force someone to accept help unless there’s an imminent risk to safety, such as getting lost, risk of fire or serious medication misuse, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts or behaviour. If the risk level is high, I would suggest trying to work with local social services about a guardianship to allow a family member to make housing decisions on her behalf.