Cheri L. Elson and Allen G. Drescher, Retired
21 S. 2nd St. ● Ashland ● Oregon ● 97520

Signs Your Parents May Need Help

As your parents age, how do you distinguish normal aging from abnormal aging? Here are some warning signs that your parents may be suffering from mental and/or physical decline and need help. This is not an easy thing to face, for either the parents (no one want to lose their independence) or the children (admitting the person who always took care of you now needs your help); however, taking a “head in the sand” approach will not resolve the issue and could result in things getting much worse.

Here are some signs that your parents may need some form of assistance, be it someone coming to the house on a regular basis, or moving to a residential care facility:

  • Uncertainty and confusing when performing once-familiar tasks
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Difficulty with walking, balance, and mobility
  • Stacks of unopened mail or an overflowing mailbox
  • Late payment notices, bounced checks, and calls from collections
  • Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
  • Diagnosis of dementia, including Alzheimer’s
  • Spoiled or expired groceries that don’t get thrown away

These are just a few examples; there are many more. In reality, any noticeable change in their behavior, or appearance could be a sign. “Change” is important here – if your parents were never great bookkeepers, then stacks of unopened mail may not be a sign of mental or physical decline. If, however, they always paid their bills by the due date and never left unopened mail laying around the house, then those same stacks of mail could be indicative of something else going on.

Ideally, families will have conversations with their children well before any decline occurs, but this is not often the case. Sometimes a parent doesn’t recognize they need help; sometimes won’t admit it. That’s where you come in. Approach them with love and respect, reassuring them that you want to help promote their health and well-being (both today and in the future). Make sure they understand your concerns and proposed solutions.

It is also important to remember that you don’t have to do this alone. I am here to support you and your entire family through this process, wherever you may be on your journey, and in whatever capacity I can best be of service. If you have any questions or comments, please call or email me. It is my honor to serve you and your loved ones navigate these challenging transitions.

Cheri Elson, J.D.
Gray Matters Consulting
(541) 708-1147

To read more about this issue:

The Mayo Clinic: Aging Parents – 8 Warning Signs of Health Problems

18 Signs Your Elderly Parents Need Help

20 Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help at Home

Planning for Change: Advance Planning for Dementia

What are the warning signs of dementia? Where do you go if you are worried about yourself or a family member? What do you need to know if you, or someone you love, have been diagnosed with dementia? What documents should be in place and when should they be prepared? There are so many questions surrounding dementia, or any kind of cognitive decline.
Please join me at Temple Emek Shalom for an informative and empowering class for a discussion the roadmaps designed to help families concerned about the possibility of dementia, what to do after a diagnosis, and much more!
When:   Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Where:  Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 E. Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520
For more information, please contact me at

Legal and Financial Planning for Cognitive Impairment and Chronic Illness

Please join me June 22nd, as I guide you through legal and financial planning for the LGBT senior community who struggle through the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. This diagnosis makes planning for the future more important than ever.
This presentation focuses on learning about important legal and financial issues to consider, how to put plans in place, and how to access legal and financial resources near you. The class will cover information for families and individuals touched by Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, and will have valuable information for everyone, LGBT or otherwise!
When:  Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Where:  Ashland Senior Center, 1699 Homes Avenue, Ashland, OR 97520
For more information, please contact the Ashland Senior Center at (541) 488-5342, or visit their website at Ashland Senior Center.
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