Are Mom and Dad Alright?

People are able to travel for the holidays again this year, and for some, that’s a chance to catch up with aging parents or grandparents you haven’t seen for some time. There comes a point where the child becomes the parent.

Lori Williams says she sees a 25% increase in calls from adult children concerned about their parents in the days after Thanksgiving and Christmas each year. Williams is the found and owner of Lori Williams-Senior Services in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and helps find housing so seniors can live as independently as possible as long as possible.

Williams provides this list of warning signs:

1. Physical Appearance 

Take note of any changes in weight (loss or gain) and any changes in balance. Are they dressed appropriately and are their clothes clean? How is their dental hygiene? Do you notice any changes in hearing or vision? Are there any signs of a recent fall, such as bruising? 

2. Emotional Well-Being 

Do you notice any short-term memory loss or confusion? Do they seem depressed or anxious? Have they withdrawn from friends, church, etc.? How are they sleeping? 

3. Home Environment 

Is the house cluttered and dirty? Check for expired, spoiled food. Be sure to check the bottoms of cookware to see if they’re scorched, as this could be a sign that they’re forgetting food cooking on the stove. 

4. Finances 

Are there stacks of unpaid bills? Bills being paid 2 or 3 times in one month? Check bank statements for evidence of falling prey to scammers. 

5. New Diagnosis/Medications 

Are they taking medications as prescribed? When was their last doctor visit? Have they received a new diagnosis – dementia, heart disease, vertigo, etc. 

6. Ability to Drive 

Are there any unexplained dents to the car or garage? Check the side mirrors too! Take a ride with them to assess how well they’re driving. 

If any of that raised any bells in your mind, you can check out her most recent Aging in Style podcast which is more detailed.

photo: Getty Images

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