Worrying about elderly parents is a normal part of life.
We all grow and age, which can come with issues related to physical and mental health, memory and infirmity.
This can be incredibly challenging to deal with, with role reversal meaning you are suddenly thrust into a caring role for a parent who may or (most likely) is not happy to be in the position of needing some support.
There are, of course, more issues with long-distance caregiving.
You have moved away – a job, desire for adventure or falling in love has meant you now live far from your parents. Time has passed, and now they are older adults; you worry about them even if they are in good health.
When your ageing parents live a Zoom call away, you cannot just pop round to see if they are OK or contact your local health services.
You need the peace of mind that you are doing the best you can to care for them while knowing you can’t be there to take them to doctors’ appointments and the like.
It may be that there are no other family members left to care for your parents, or they now have their own hands full with young children, time-consuming careers or their own issues or health problems.
Whatever your situation and wherever you are, you have sleepless nights about your parents. Maybe you should uproot your family? Perhaps you should give up the job you love or your career to move back home? You might regret moving away in the first place.
It can feel even worse if you live close by but have your hands full with other responsibilities. You feel guilty every time you speak to your parent, particularly when you remember how kind and caring they were with you in your childhood. But life moves on, and you cannot be there for them as much as you would like right now.
That is where we come in.
We know that many of our clients’ families are no longer well-versed in the minutiae of elder care in the UK or live in the UK and still find the entire process confusing.
We are here to help, not to sell. Rather we offer clear advice about how you can avail of private care services at home or traverse the minutiae of the more complex NHS, adult care services, adult social services.
We can share our expertise on matters such as memory care, assisted living, health issues, memory loss and everything else you are worried about right now.
Whether your loved one needs home care or long-term care, or you want to talk about legal issues such as Wills, Trusts or Power of Attorney, we welcome hearing from you to minimise such worries for your elderly parents or other relatives or friends..
You may be particularly keen to speak to us if you fear your parents can no longer live independently. But what are the signs you should be looking out for?
1. How does their house look when you visit or Zoom them?
If your parents used to be neat as a pin, a messy home could mean depression or that they are struggling to cope. If increasingly dirty bathrooms, rubbish accumulating or dishes around the sink is unusual for your parents, it may be a sign that all is not well.
2. Getting around
If your parent refuses to drive or seems very anxious about it (and this has never been a problem before), then something may be afoot. Perhaps they are having eye issues, memory problems, fading in and out of concentrating or having muscular-skeletal aches and pains?
Whether you’re seeing your parents face to face, or on a screen, it is worth remembering to notice their appearance and behaviour and ask them about what they have been up to, just so you can check that they are still attending classes or activities and enjoying their hobbies.
3. Becoming gaunt
If your parent is a gym bunny, then well done to them! But if they are losing weight and are not dieting, they may be unwell, scared to use the kitchen, forgetting to eat, or depressed. They may also be frightened of – or have forgotten how to use – household appliances like the hob or oven.
You used to love talking to your elderly parent on the phone. But something is different now. If your parent cannot hear or understand you, this can make calls frustrating for you both. It’s also a sign that all may not be well.
5. Memory issues
If your elderly parent mentions forgetting this or that, pay attention. This is particularly the case with paying regular bills that they have been paying for many years. It could be that, initially, they downplay or joke about memory issues but it’s worth noting that issues may be worse or more worrisome than they are happy to admit right now.
If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, then worrying about elderly parents is something you will probably face. Whatever your worries, and wherever you are, we are here to help.