The United States’ 65-and-older population has increased by 34.2% in the last decade. You might have parents that are part of this growing demographic, which comes with its own set of worries. 

You might find yourself asking questions like who will take care of them when they cannot care for themselves? Where will they live? Another crucial question to consider is, when will they no longer be able to care for themselves? 

There are certain behaviors to look out for that will tell you when your aging parent needs help. Keep reading to find out what these signs are.   

1. Trouble Doing Everyday Activities

Declining physical health is one of the most apparent signs of an aging parent. If you notice that yours are having trouble climbing the stairs in their house or aren’t changing out of their pajamas because it’s difficult for them to put on new clothes, consider hiring professional help.

2. Loss of Interest in Hobbies

Is your parent not doing the things they used to do anymore? When caring for an aging parent in withdrawal, softly encourage them to meet with their friends or get outside for a walk.

It might remind them how much they used to enjoy these activities. You can also seek professional mental help if you are concerned they may be battling depression. 

3. Change in Eating Habits 

Your parent might have lost a significant amount of weight recently, or perhaps they haven’t been eating as much as they used to. Try to plan meals for the week with them and enjoy the food together. 

A change in diet could be a sign they’re having trouble eating certain foods. By having a conversation with your loved one about his or her change in eating habits, you can create a plan to increase their nutrition intake in a way that is best for them. 

4. Forgetfulness  

It’s normal for people’s memories to slow down as they get older, whether that means losing their phones regularly or taking a couple of minutes to remember the name of a loved one.

However, if you’re concerned your parents have more severe symptoms caused by dementia or other memory loss disorders, you should contact a doctor. By asking your parent a series of questions and running some tests, they’ll give you a diagnosis and information about how the disorder typically progresses. 

5. Poor Hygiene 

The last sign on this aging parents checklist is that your loved one no longer takes care of their body, meaning they aren’t showering or brushing their teeth anymore. Have a conversation with them to understand why they’ve neglected their personal hygiene and see if they need assistance with these tasks. 

Taking in Your Aging Parent 

Unfortunately, the changes that occur with aging parents make them seem unlike themselves. If you’ve noticed that your parents have been acting differently lately, you may be looking for ideas on how you can take better care of them.

Creating a mother-in-law suite gives your parent their own space and a feeling of independence while also making it easy for you to keep an eye on them. For design tips and caregiving advice, check out the rest of our library.