Being Proactive in Helping Aging Parent

Vicky Pitner   -  

Often times an aging parent is unlikely to let his/her children know if they are in need of help at home. As well, parents may become unaware of their own need for assistance. Children of aging parents have a great responsibility to be involved as their parent’s needs change with advancing age. Below are some tips to help identify needs and plan for changes.

  • Become part of your parent’s healthcare team and attend as many appointments with them as you are able. If unable to attend due to location or work situations, then opt to send a reliable family member or friend whom your loved one will be familiar with and comfortable with. This way you can receive accurate health information and stay updated.
  • Watch for any demonstrating changes in behavior that are out of their norm. Signs such as forgetting the names of familiar people or objects, using repetitive speech, and difficulty performing familiar tasks could be signs of cognitive impairment.
  • Sensing a decreased mood, lack of motivation, and/or increased agitation may be signs that your loved one may be experiencing depression
  • Frequent communication is key. While some families live great distances apart, phone and face time calls and having local loved ones do regular in-person check-ins is a great way to stay in touch. By maintaining frequent and consistent communication any changes or declines will be easier to spot if they occur.
  • When aging parents experience falls with no traumatic results, they can sweep it under the rug as just being “clumsy.” However, falls are a serious matter that needs to be addressed with a healthcare provider. Have your parent assessed to see if physical and/or occupational therapy would be required. Encouraging your parent to maintain strength and safety may prevent falls.
  • Be sure to involve the aging parent in the decision-making process. It is important to maintain your parent’s sense of independence and integrity by allowing them to help identify their growing needs and be a part of creating solutions.

If you, a friend or family member living with memory loss would be interested in learning more about our Memory Ministry, Memory Cafe or our Virtual Family and Friends Support Group on Tuesday evenings, please contact Vicky Pitner at