For many people, the best thing about going home is the memories that live within the walls of their childhood. Familiar surroundings and smells that bring the past back to life are the treasures adult children look forward to during a visit home. As time goes by, people change, but the changes are more noticeable when long periods have elapsed between visits. Parents who always had it together may now show signs of aging that weren’t obvious until recently. Some changes are perfectly normal. However, if something doesn’t seem right, consider having an assessment done to determine what’s going on.

What is Considered Normal for an Elderly Person?

Forgetfulness is something that happens to all of us. However, when forgetting the same things over and over become commonplace, perhaps there’s something more to it. Family members watching for signs that parents might need assisted living or memory care can get a better idea of a loved one’s current capabilities by having a simple test done. An ADL (Activities of Daily Living) evaluation can pinpoint areas where an aging parent is struggling. The results can determine if a loved one’s functional status will allow them to continue living at home or if a safer option is required. 

An ADL assessment evaluates five main categories. The categories include dressing, eating, toileting, personal grooming, and transferring and mobility. An elderly individual needs to maintain a certain functioning level to be safe and live independently. If any areas are lagging, further testing can determine if it’s time to consider moving to an assisted living community. 

Observe Elderly Parents During Every Visit

During visits home, family members should observe how parents are coping on their own. Mild changes are nothing to worry about unless the change makes an individual vulnerable. Forgetting too much poses a safety risk, such as failing to turn off a gas stove after using it or going for a drive and getting lost coming home. Frequently misplacing items or forgetting to take prescribed medication may have dire consequences. Behavioral changes in an elderly family member, such as repeating phrases or words, blankly staring for any length of time, having moments of confusion or outbursts of anger, or failing to remember the names of close associates, could indicate Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. An in-depth cognitive assessment can provide a better picture of the mental state of a loved one who is struggling. If the issues require round-the-clock supervision, a memory care community offers a caring and compassionate living environment with 24-hour monitoring. 

Be Open-Minded, Not Judgmental 

When visiting aging parents, look around with an open mind and don’t overly critique things. A cluttered home isn’t necessarily a big issue. Upkeep is difficult as an individual gets up in years. Hiring a professional cleaner to come in a few times a month could keep the home more sanitary. However, items that pose an imminent danger require immediate attention. Are there any issues with mobility and balance when a loved one moves about? Perhaps modifications in the home can assist with keeping an aging parent safe. Remove throw rugs, secure dangling cords, install railing in the bathroom, and make stairs more accessible with a stair chair lift. Addressing fixable problems head-on can allow an elderly parent to remain independent in their own home for many more years. 

Enlist the Help of Neighbors

Parents who wish to remain independent during the golden years could benefit from getting to know the neighbors around them. Neighbors who interact with one another provide a safety net when the extended family of an elderly individual lives far away. If a neighbor notices signs of decline or sees a problem that family members should look into, it’s reassuring to have a community willing to come to their aid. 

Assisted Living Takes the Worry Out of Aging

Orchard Park at Southfork is an assisted living community in Manvel, Texas, with a full range of amenities and services for residents who wish to remain as independent as possible in their later years. Our community has an active social calendar with plenty of activities to fill each day. Our residents are family, and everyone is empowered to live the life they want within the community.

Remaining independent for as long as possible is what every senior citizen desires. While some individuals don’t need any assistance with everyday tasks, others need varying degrees of help. A community that assists with daily care is the best of both worlds. An aging individual can still live independently with dignity while receiving support with troublesome tasks.