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What to look for when you visit Mom or Dad

As states ease their lockdown rules, people will be eager to visit loved ones. If you have older, vulnerable parents, you could be especially ready to visit them in person.

However, in addition to being mindful of how to visit them safely, you should also prepare to look for signs that your parent needs more help than he or she has.

Signs of dementia or memory loss

Devastating illnesses like Alzheimer’s can make it impossible for a person to live alone. As such, look for signs that a parent is experiencing memory loss or dementia. These signs include:

  • Forgetting your name or that you were going to visit
  • Poor hygiene
  • Repeating themselves in a conversation
  • Forgetting the name for everyday objects
  • Withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy
  • Getting easily confused or upset

If you see any of these signs, you may want to talk to your parent about seeing their doctor. You can also start looking into care facilities or in-home care providers.

Signs of financial abuse

Financial abuse can be complicated to uncover, especially if you do not have access to your parent’s bank accounts. However, there are still signs that someone is financially abusing your parent. When you visit, pay attention to the following red flags:

  • Utilities that have been shut off, like electricity or water
  • Missing checks
  • Receiving a high volume of mail from financial institutions or credit card companies
  • Missing property
  • Someone is paying unusual attention to your parent or showing up at their house more frequently

Signs of neglect or physical abuse

Perhaps the most noticeable signs that your parent needs more help or better care are signs of neglect or physical abuse. Pay close attention and look for:

  • Bruises or lacerations that your parent cannot give a suitable reason for
  • Poor hygiene
  • Overmedication
  • Increased signs of fear, especially around a care provider
  • Significant deterioration in the condition of his or her home
  • Dehydration or malnourishment

After a long time, seeing your parent in person can reveal some situations of which you were unaware when you spoke on the phone or video chat.

If you notice any of these signs when you visit your parents, it can be crucial to examine medical, legal and financial resources to protect them.

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