For those with aging loved ones, it can be hard to distinguish some of the “normal” signs of aging from the things that should raise some red flags. Nobody in school teaches you how to spot the signs of trouble with your elderly loved one. And it is in our human nature to avoid unpleasant things, right?
It’s hard to watch our elderly parents regress, even though it’s part of nature. But there are some obvious caveats that we really need to see and act on rather than ignore. This is an example, although I just made up the story that matches what I saw.
Walking around my neighborhood, I came across an abandoned car, which was in the driveway of a beautiful house, in a well-kept area. And it seemed that she did not belong to a visitor, for she had been sitting there in the same place for days. I took a moment and walked around it. The side was hit in several places, suggesting “bent septal” type accidents. The trunk was fixed with a bungee cord. In general, it seemed out of place in an upscale neighborhood. And for me, a car can tell a story. I was with my husband and partner at AgingParents.com where we provide guidance for families with elderly loved ones. “Do you think this car belongs to the elderly?” he asked.
Perhaps it belonged to an older driver. Imagine this is true. The condition of the car indicates that the person who was driving it should stop driving. How many small accidents do we need to say, “That’s enough”? The following may not be very secondary. What about the Sheikh’s family? One can imagine in this scenario that the family had not seen the sheikh in person at home for some time. They likely did not look at the car and the elderly person never mentioned the many times the damage was done. One can guess (not knowing if this is true), that no one was paying attention to the fact that an elderly parent neglected the car and probably neglected other things as well.
The question of when to intervene hangs in the air for many families. In our story about the wrecked car, we think of imaginary adult children who never took the time to visit an elderly parent in person, at home, to check things out. And the condition of the car indicates that if any family visits, they will see the mess and know it’s time to change things up.
Anyone with an elderly parent who has been sharp, productive, and self-sufficient for a long time wants to think this will go on indefinitely. But she rarely does. Eventually these small changes become big changes in the elderly’s ability to manage without any help. We, as a family, need to be alert to them so that we can at least offer help when we see the decline.
Of course, I don’t actually know if an elderly person owned the car. But the message to me is that someone is not only neglecting the car, but probably the person who was driving it. And that’s the point here: We have to take a closer look at what our parents and other loved ones do because they live so long especially if they live alone. It may be time to step in and help now, but we don’t see it unless we’re looking.
1- If you have an elderly loved one, especially if you live alone, Regular personal visit. Eye on the living situation. If there is a car, check the condition. If you live far away, ask a neighbor, close friend, or hired worker to visit and update you.
2. Notice these red flags He saw them as evidence that help was needed: piles of unpaid bills, turmoil in a previously well-kept home, lack of food in the fridge or cupboards, visible damage to the car, and the house or yard in poor condition, among others. These are a few among many likely.
3. Accept the fact that most people will eventually need some help as they age. It can be material assistance, housekeeping, money management, or just keeping track of daily tasks that need to be done. Show help At the first signs. Don't let the life of an aging loved one, at least metaphorically, deteriorate to look like a damaged car. Involvement is the cure for neglect.