While life at any age is full of changes, sudden changes in your older loved one could be a sign you shouldn’t ignore.
There are many signs we can watch for while caring for our aging parents and loved ones. One sign that something is wrong can be a change in their normal habits.
If your daddy keeps his garage in pristine condition and suddenly the place is a wreck, it’s time to be concerned. If he’s always been a regular at the barber shop but suddenly has neglected his looks, you need to start asking some questions.
If your mama usually has every hair in place and always smells fresh as a daisy but suddenly it seems like she’s not taking care of herself, that’s the time to dig a bit further.
A change in hygiene can be just a symptom. It could be they’ve had a close call in the shower or bath and are afraid to shower alone. If they’ve began to stay close to home for long stretches of time, it could be a sign that they’re afraid to drive or fear taking a fall while out and about.
Fear Can Change Almost Everything.
It may be hard to bring up a subject like personal hygiene, but you can do it. Just be gentle. Start with something positive. “Oh, mama, I’ve always admired how beautiful you keep your hair,” you might say. “Are you having some trouble taking care it now? Why don’t I take you to the hair dresser?”
Just any way to open up a discussion is a good thing. Keep it non-confrontational. Look around in their bathroom and see if you can tell something is off. Watch how your parents walk. Are they stumbling a bit? Do they just seem off balance? Ask them when they’ve been out of the house last. Look in the refrigerator and see if there’s fresh food in the kitchen. You really need to be observant if you want to find out what’s wrong.
Chances are it is just a small problem, but it pays to stay on top of things. If your mama usually loves to talk but now hardly says a word, it could be depression. It could be confusion. It could be a health issue. I found out the hard way you have to be proactive. I almost lost my daddy because he didn’t want to go to the doctor. That won’t happen again. I’ll drag him there if I need to.
Changes Will Come and Not All Will Be Bad Signs.
I’ve seen a gradual change in my mama since my daddy’s been sick. She always kept the house clean and dust free, but that has changed. Something had to give. The stress she has felt for the past few months have taken a toll. Her passion in life, besides my daddy, is working in her yard. Dusting is way down on her list. Gardening is her escape. That’s okay. Every one deals with stress in a different way.
The stress still takes a toll. Mama forgets a lot. She gets stuck on small problems that happened a long time ago. I know I have to keep my eyes open to her problems as well as my daddy’s. Perhaps I need to be more worried about her than daddy!
I want to thank all of you who read the Senior Care Advice blogs. I try to read all your comments on our facebook page. Please let us know if there’s a subject you’d like us to look into. Many blessings to you all. Enjoy your older loved ones while they’re still here!