Things that Mom or Dad won’t tell you about can hurt them. “Boomers” need to sharpen their detective skills to discover how their parents are really getting along “on their own.” Many health hazards can develop without on-site supervision. Having a home health aide , visit the parent on a regular basis and report back to the adult child increases awareness, facilitates problem resolution, and improves quality of life for both family members.

*Mom always says she’s OK, but I wonder…

When was the last time mom fully bathed?

Is it a coincidence that she is wearing the same clothes as the last time I visited? Is she taking her medications correctly? Is she eating well? Can she drive safely?

When you can’t get a straight answer, look for clues.

Use you nose to check for body odor. Look through the laundry for signs of blood or body fluid stains. Look in the shower. Is it being used as storage? Do the bathing supplies show signs of use? Are the medications orderly and in current supply? Is the refrigerator well stocked and odorless? Have you been in the car while mom was driving?

If you can’t check out things yourself, have someone assist.

Many clues to a parent’s health can be seen when the person is undressed. Ask the aide to report back to you any signs of bruises, cuts, or swelling. This method helped a son discover that his mom fell, even though she tried to keep it a secret.

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