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Worrisome Changes In An Aging Parent Or Relative

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Working with seniors and their families, our team often has a spike in inquiries from adult children regarding their aging parents or relatives in the weeks following family holidays. It’s a time when people notice more subtle changes, like forgetfulness, personality changes, health problems going ignored, or issues with the elderly person’s living situation. Bringing this up does not always go as desired or lead to a solution, which is why geriatric care management companies, like Senior Steps, bring in an expert approach that minimizes conflict and leads to more productive results. In this article, we will outline some ways to evaluate your older loved one’s situation and decide if it’s time to discuss bringing in some sort of professional help. We will also outline some of the healthier ways to discuss your concerns and what steps you can take to help.

It's important to start by observing.

While you may have noticed an issue that seems to be problematic, it’s a good idea to talk to others in the senior’s family or circle, especially those who may spend more time with them on a day-to-day basis. Ask for their thoughts and try to gather whether what you’ve discerned is a one-off or an ongoing matter.

As part of your assessment, it’s a good idea to bring up your concern to your loved one in a gentle, non-judgmental way and get their perspective. While many of us can feel protective over the elderly in our lives and instinctively want to take matters into our own hands, it’s always best to take a person-centered approach and focus on listening first. Prioritize understanding them over getting them to understand you. Think of this approach not as a lecture, an interrogation, or even a negotiation, but as an inquisitive interview. The other person will be more open to discussing the matter at hand and seeking solutions if they feel they can do so on their own terms.

Once a discussion has taken place and you have a better idea of what is happening, you can move on to offering any help the person is open to and researching resources you can use. Gathering information at this stage can be very overwhelming, so keep in mind that some geriatric care management firms can be hired at an affordable price to provide an expert, one-time assessment.

This involves a professional, or a team of professionals, meeting with you and your elderly loved one (either virtually or in-person) and evaluating their situation as well as short-term and long-term needs. This assessment also includes providing a plan of care that can point you in the right direction with finding specialists, determining what resources are available to you, and even giving you a better idea of the finances involved.

Depending on what your concerns and the senior’s complaints may be, a geriatric care manager can assess:

  • The extent of the client’s ability to perform crucial tasks of daily living, such as feeding themselves, maintaining proper hygiene, getting around, and keeping important appointments;

  • The severity of any memory problems or critical thinking abilities;

  • Safety concerns in their environment, ranging from an unclean, unorganized space to an inaccessible environment that hinders mobility and can cause a risk of injury;

  • Potential abuse by family members, cohabitants, or hired help (including medical personnel, financial or legal professionals, or any other people in their lives).

If you feel inclined to talk to someone about concerns you have about an elderly loved one, you can always call us for a FREE consultation to learn about our services or be pointed in the right direction. We work face-to-face with geriatric clients and their families on Boston’s South Shore and virtually all around the country.

We can be reached via phone at 617-405-8796 or via e-mail at

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