Sadly, there comes a time when the parent becomes more like your child and my husband and I are going through that with his father. Even though I married the boy next door I don’t ever remember his dad not being a hermit, so to speak. He’s now 78 and until now has a few medical hiccups but has been self sufficient.
A week ago Saturday my husband and I were enjoying a night with out the kids together and his dad called to say he was dizzy and throwing up. This wasn’t a huge worry for us because he has had vertigo in the past and has been treated for this for a few years now. An hour later he called back and wanted to go to the ER.
This whole situation has spiraled downward and now we’re finding how well a parent can mask what is going on in their life. I don’t want to violate my father in laws privacy but I want to post about warning signals and flags. We have had to put my father in law in a care home for physical therapy and are doing our best to run back and forth.
First I want to say that these warning signs or indications that your parent may need help may or may not be what we’re addressing right now but in general it’s a good place to start.
- Mobility – Is your parent having a hard time getting around? Can they get in and out of a chair with out help?
Slurring of words – Has their speech pattern changed?
Wearing the same clothes every day – are they changing their clothes daily?
Bathing – Do the smell bad or maybe like urine? Are they able to bathe on their own.
Hoarding – Does it look like their home might belong on Hoarders?
Mail – Is mail piling up unopened? Are they paying their bills?
Cons – Are they sending people money for lottery scams, insurance or donation scams?
Weight Gain or Loss – This is something you would want to point out to their doctor because it can be an indication of many different health issues.
Forgetfulness – We’re not talking where did I put my keys. We’re talking have they forgotten a grandchild, is there an age gap in their memory all of a sudden.
Crying – Have they started crying for an unexplained reason?
Refusal to leave their home
While this is a good place to start there can be many more symptoms. How do you know when to step in or what do you say to your parent? This is something we’re struggling with right now. We are limited on funds and so is my father in law but we’ve started with talking to his doctor. We’re waiting to hear back from him right now but we’re mapping out our next steps which are to contact a social worker and to stay in close contact with him.
At no time do we want him to think we’re going behind his back. Anything I say to a nurse or a doctor I make sure I can say to him. We sat down yesterday and explained to him the differences we were seeing and asked him all the questions we could think of. This is going to be on going and I very open to conversation, hints and advice!