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How to See If Parents Need Help

Bert Brown
Written by Bert Brown

Do you know the signs that your loved one may need help with daily tasks, mobility, or memory? Learn how to decide if they need help and how much it could cost.

Help!!!  Sometimes our parents will ask for help in many different ways signaling the need for someone to be there with them. Often, we notice the need for help before they do which leads to conflict as maintaining independence is a vital part of feeling healthy.

How Much Help Do They Need?

First, check in on your parents daily.  Often things like having difficulty maintaining their home or remembering to take medication is a sign they may need some help.

Help can be someone coming by once or twice a week to help with cleaning or groceries to someone who is there 24 hours a day.

An initial solution could be moving that loved one in with you but know that he/she my still need someone there while you are at work or just so you can have time to rest. 

There may be a time where your loved one will need the greater level of assistance found at a senior style home/assisted living or even require a more intensive level of care as with those with memory or dementia issues.  This can be a difficult decision.  Here are some signs to consider when determining if a higher level of care is required:

  • Difficulty performing basic daily tasks, including:
    • Bathing, dressing, and grooming;
    • Preparing meals and feeding themselves;
    • Maintaining the home including housekeeping, laundry, and simple maintenance;
    • Making a phone call and hanging up on telemarketers and scam artists; and
    • Managing money and paying bills.
  • Challenges completing physical activities, such as:
    • Climbing stairs and moving around the house or facility with or without equipment;
    • Going to the bathroom, without assistance or an accident;
    • Getting up after a fall; and
    • Driving to a destination or using public transportation.
  • Trouble remembering, knowing, and understanding things, for instance:
    • Forgetfulness that is more alarming than what could be expected with normal aging and puts them at higher level of risk;
    • Taking medication at the proper time and in the right dosage;
    • Leaving the stove on or door open; and
    • Failure to recognize family, friends, and caregivers.

Help at any level is also somewhat expensive.  Simple help with cleaning or groceries can be as cheap as $50-$100/visit.  A live-in or part-time home health aid or senior housing can be thousands of dollars a month.  Now may be the time for long term care insurance to help defray the costs.

About the author

Bert Brown

Bert Brown

Practicing Anesthesiologist and caregiving son for his mother who passed away from complications associated with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Earned Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Dartmouth College and Medical Degree from Wayne State University. Completed residency at University of Texas Southwestern in Anesthesiology followed by a fellowship in solid organ transplants and cardiac anesthesiology. Owns his anesthesiology private practice and resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife and teenage daughter.

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