CHC Executive Director Jennifer Avila spoke to U.S. News and World Report about determining when your aging parent can no longer live alone. The original article was published Feb. 15, 2023 and can be viewed here.

From U.S. News and World Report:

Aging is a fact of life, and for many older adults, there comes a time when they can no longer look after themselves as they once did. Often, the adult children are left to determine when that time comes, and it can be a challenging period for both kids and parents.

Personal care

Jennifer Avila, executive director of Custom Home Care, a home services and home nursing agency in the Chicago area, says that adult children of aging parents need to “be a detective when visiting the aging parent.” She recommends looking in the refrigerator for obvious clues that your parent might not be able to take care of themselves properly. If there’s old, expired or no food, those can certainly be indications that your parent needs more help.

Household management

An inability to keep on top of their mail, bills and various other paperwork involved with maintaining a home can be a sign that your parent shouldn’t continue living alone.

This is a sadly common situation, so it’s best to keep an eye out for possible financial issues, such as bills that aren’t being paid on time or unusual spending or withdrawals. Avila says you can set up bank alerts on your parent’s behalf to keep tabs on what’s going into and out of their accounts.

Talking With Your Parent About Moving to an Elder Care Facility

If you notice concerning trends in your parent’s ability to look after themselves, it’s time to take action.

Avila says the best way to manage the conversation is to “start early before there is an imminent need. If you wait until there is a medical emergency, your options are immediately limited.” However, if you start early, “you can ensure the senior feels that they are in charge and making the decisions about how they want to age.”