It’s 9am Sunday on a bright, winter Chicago morning and it’s time to make your weekly call to your parents. Dad is in good spirits but Mom just doesn’t have the energy to clean and she didn’t go play cards with the girls this week. Warning bells are going off. This isn’t like her.
It’s very important not to brush off any change in behavior. A difference in behavior is not just a result of getting older it can be a sign of depression. Your loved one could complain of a lack of energy, attributing it to aging, but in actuality it could be a symptom of depression. A chronic illness can also trigger depression, causing them to withdraw from activities and socialization.
Withdrawing from activities is another sign. Pay attention if your loved one stops being interested in their hobbies, stops engaging with friends and family, or not caring for themselves. Remaining social and active is crucial to mental and physical well-being as you age.
Forgetting to take important medications and neglecting to care for themselves and their home are two more symptoms to pay close attention to. A weekly phone call might not tell you how clean the house is or how good their hygiene is, but read between the lines. Signs of self-neglect, according to National Institute on Aging/NIH can include:
- Failure to take meds or refusing to see a Dr for a serious illness
- Leave burning stove unattended
- Poor hygiene
- Does not dress appropriately for the weather
- Inability to attend to housekeeping
Having a caregiver come in and help Mom and Dad out would give you peace of mind. A caregiver can help with everything from activities of daily living, medication management, meal prep and transportation. Caregivers can enrich, engage and empower the life of your loved one while being a dependable and consistent point of contact for you to rely on.