10 Secrets that Aging Parents Keep.
Falls are the leading cause of death, injury and hospital admissions among the elderly population. "It's easy for an elderly person to cover up a fall, particularly if no bruising or bone breaks was suffered. Your parent may worry that you will try to him/her to a wheelchair or walker," Ladew says. The preservation of independence is of major importance to older adults, even at the risk of falling.
"So not to cause you worry, your parent may not tell you about new or increasing pain," she says. As a caregiver, you need to know about pain so that you can get the proper medical treatment or medication for your loved one.
"Dizziness could be caused by low blood pressure or a medication" Ladew explains. Although your parents may not want to alarm you, this is a potentially serious and dangerous problem that needs to be addressed.
4. Auto accidents or driving infractions:
"Your parent probably wants the freedom and independence that driving provides. Therefore, if they are in an accident or receive a driving violation, they may withhold that information, for fear that you will take away the car keys," Ladew says. A driving violation or accident may be indicative of failing health conditions such as vision, mobility or mental awareness.
5. Money shortages:
"If the parent's money supply starts to fail, he/she may cut back on buying food and medications," Ladew says. Clearly, this can be very dangerous. If you, as caregiver, are aware of financial difficulties, you can seek financial assistance from government or community agencies on behalf of your parent.
6. Frivolous purchasing:
Elders sometimes get into the habit of making unnecessary, even unwise, purchases. They might buy from QVC, catalogs, telemarketers, direct mail pitches, or on the Internet. The parent doesn't tell the caregiver in fear that their purchases will be restricted and financial independence taken away. As caregiver, keep an eye out for new items, and even strange merchandise. If you suspect your parent is making unwise purchases, check credit card statements and checkbooks. Sound sneaky? Perhaps, but as a caregiver, financial responsibility comes with the territory.
"Many elders gamble out of boredom, to fill free time," Ladew says. The casinos know this, and often target elders on television, radio, the Internet and direct mail. The gambling houses offer "senior special" meal prices to draw the parent to the slots and game tables. However, gambling can quickly get out of control and lead to financial troubles.
. Financial abuse:
"A family member, friend or helper may be raiding your parent's financial assets, checkbook or credit cards. Your parent might not even be aware this is happening. If the elder is aware, he or she may not tell you for fear that you think they can no longer manage finances." Similar to elder abuse, financial abuse is a crime. And because most parents withhold the facts from their caregivers, the crooks continue stealing, without penalties or jail terms.
9. Elder abuse:
"Elder abuse may be caused by family members, neighbors or even paid helpers. Each event is a criminal act, but the parent may be concerned that telling you may cause a major rift in family," says Ladew. Recent studies report that less than one-in-seven incidents of physical elder abuse are revealed to caregivers; therefore, the abusers walk free and clear.
10. Alcohol or drug abuse:
"Your parent may be drinking heavily, using illegal drugs, or abusing prescription medications. This is extremely dangerous, as alcohol or drug use can conflict with other medications as well as quickly become an addiction." Keep your eye out for changes in mood or personality, empty bottles of wine, or frequent trips to the pharmacy. If you suspect abuse, address the issues with your parent in a non-confrontational way. Or, talk to your parent's doctor for advice.