What to do in initial stages of taking care of elderly parents?

United States
January 31, 2007 7:22am CST
I have "older" parents for someone my age (mid 30s) and so my friends haven't really experienced any issues yet around aging parents. My father is 81 and mother is 75. Except for a pacemaker, dad is doing great! I've noticed recently and rapidly, however, that my mother is becoming very forgetful. I spent the night recently since it was close to a work meeting I needed to be at the next day, and that morning she insisted I make my coffee (to take in a thermos on the road) but I was still sitting in my PJs and wasn't leaving for another hour. When I pointed this out to her, she looked very confused, then looked upset, then brushed it off like it didn't happen. A few incidents have happened like this in the past 2 months. She has had some cooking mishaps (forgotten ingredients, undercooked or overcooked food), and forgets who's coming over on what day to visit and you have to repeat yourself a lot to get it straight. I'm worried but also happy that my father is with her... he is very strong and although he's slowed down over the years, seems to have a clear mind. Is there anything I can do or should be doing to help her? I told her one day, jokingly, that I read an article and older people who do brain puzzles (crosswords) remain about 30% sharper as they get older since they are working their minds more often. Now I understand she is doing the word jumbles in the newspaper. I was happy to hear it, but what else can I do to help her (and me) deal with the effects of aging?
1 person likes this
1 response
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
31 Jan 07
You might want to encourage her to go to the doctor or have your father take her. Get her checked out to see if there is anything they can do to help with the memory problems. Discussing with your father your concerns might be the best option to go in. Suggest getting some things in order, health care surrogate paper work, wills etc. The health care surrogate I strongly suggest because if something happens to him she might not be the best person to be making health decisions for him. Also making any and all arrangements ahead of time or at least plans on what should be done once they are older or cannot take care of themselves. The more you have a head of time the easier it is later on.