How Do I Know if My Parent Can’t Live Independently Anymore?

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As people age, they may develop mobility issues, cognitive deficits, and medical conditions. These challenges may make it difficult for your loved one to live independently, and while many seniors still manage to live on their own despite physical or psychological challenges, others may need help. Here are some ways to tell if your parent can no longer live independently.

Ambulation Difficulties

If your loved one is starting to have ambulation or mobility issues, he or she may not be able to live alone anymore. Limited mobility can heighten the risk for falls, and if your loved one lives alone and falls as a result of an unsteady gait, he or she may be unable to call for help. In addition to posing a fall risk, ambulation difficulties may prevent your loved one from keeping up with housework and laundry and may even discourage him or her from bathing. Certain medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, poor circulation, and obesity, can make walking difficult, but with proper treatment, such as medication, gait training, physical therapy, and weight loss, ambulation difficulties can be treated and managed well.

Personality Changes

Personality changes such as confusion, memory lapses, depression, or increased anxiety may mean your parent is starting to have cognitive issues. Dementia can cause personality changes, and if your parent is starting to exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s, living independently may be a life-threatening situation. If your loved one is acting differently or having psychological issues, make an appointment with his or her physician. The physician will examine your loved one and determine if cognitive deficits are present. 

It’s crucial to identify the underlying cause of cognitive issues like these as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can help your parent’s doctor address treatment and possibly even slow the progression of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s and needs help managing daily tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Des Moines Home Care Assistance provides reliable caregivers around the clock to help your loved one age in place safely and comfortably while living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Visual Impairment

Elderly people may be at risk for developing cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. These conditions can cause central vision deficits as well as issues with peripheral vision. Poor vision can put your parent at risk for accidents and injuries, and living independently may not be prudent. If your parent has impaired vision, make an appointment with the eye doctor. If the eye examination reveals the presence of cataracts, surgery may reverse visual impairment. However, the risk for glaucoma or macular degeneration may still exist. 

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Des Moines, IA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Pet Neglect

If you discover your parent’s pets aren’t being cared for or the inside of the home has evidence of pet waste, living independently may not be an option for your parent. Pet waste can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Also, if pets aren’t cared for, they may experience malnutrition, dehydration, fleas, matted fur, and long nails, which make walking very painful. If you notice your loved one’s pets aren’t being cared for, immediately remove them from the home and find a safe place for them to live, then make sure the home gets a thorough cleaning so your loved one isn’t exposed to dangerous pathogens.

If you decide your parent can no longer live independently, you don’t have to go through it alone. Find out how a caregiver can help your senior loved one enjoy a higher quality of life by reaching out to Home Care Assistance Des Moines. All of our professional respite and live-in caregivers are trained in comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care, and they can also assist seniors with basic daily tasks like exercise, cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping. To talk to one of our Care Managers, call (515) 264-2438 today.

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