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What’s Behind My Parent’s Behavioural Changes?

Mar 24, 2021

Why Our Loved Ones Are Changing and How We Can Help Them

Previously we talked about the Top Five Signs It’s Time to Think about In-Home Care for Your Aging Parent. But one of the things people keep asking us is, why do these changes in behaviour happen in the first place?

Of course the easy answer is that they’re getting older. But there are actually several possible explanations, either working together or separately. If we can determine what’s behind your parent’s behavioural changes, you’ll be in a better position to help them.

Three Common Reasons Behind Behavioural Changes

Here are three common reasons why your parent’s behaviour may change to the point where they need in-home care:

  • Cognitive changes
  • Physical changes
  • “Too much on their plates”

This is not an exclusive list. There are other factors including depression and disease. Which brings up an important point – always involve your parent’s primary care provider (family doctor, nurse practitioner, etc.) whenever possible.

The strategies we’ll discuss in this article are things you or an in-home care service can manage. But physical and mental health strategies among other things should always include consultations professional healthcare providers.

Cognitive Changes

Cognitive changes such as memory loss are common as we age.As we age, our cognitive abilities change. This can mean several things including:

  • Losing track of time
  • Loss of spatial awareness
  • Forgetting things like taking medications or turning off stoves
  • Becoming confused or disoriented

These changes can affect behaviour in several ways, including:

  • Lack of personal hygiene and care
  • Lack of home and yard care
  • Changes due to not taking medications on time
  • Frequent accidents
  • Changes in personality

Although cognitive changes are not unusual – in fact, they are natural – they signal that your parent or loved one many need additional help such as in-home personal care. But it may also require medical interventions, so always speak to their primary care provider.

Physical Changes

Again, we naturally slow down physically as we age. We get to a point where we can’t manage everything we used to. Sometimes these physical changes are more obvious such as an injury, surgery, or treatment for a disease. Other changes are less so for us to notice in our parents, including strength and endurance.

But no matter what the cause, we definitely could use more help as we age with things such as:

  • Cleaning the house
  • Cooking meals
  • Doing yardwork
  • Going out for groceries and other essentials

There may be other things we have to consider with their physical changes. For example, an injury or general unsteadiness on their feet may mean you have to rethink the stairs situation at their home.

“Too Much On Their Plates”

Simple exhaustion from having too much on their plates can reduce abilities.Although physical and cognitive challenges on their own can mean your parent or loved one needs some form of in-home care, often it’s a collection of circumstances. Life can get to be too much!

For example, simple exhaustion after doing everything that needs to be done throughout the day can be enough to make stairs a challenge later in the evening. Taking some of those tasks off their plate so they don’t get overtired is sometimes all they need to live independent – and safer – lives.

How In-Home Care Helps

In-home care provides help as needed so your parent or loved one can continue to live independently.Obviously the first step is to find out what challenges your parent or loved one faces. Then, it’s a matter of deciding what that can and want to do on their own, and what would be best left to an in-home care service.

And that’s the great thing about in-home care: it is so flexible. Everybody has different needs and different goals. Some people need occasional help with the house and yard a few times a week. Others need help only at mealtimes. Still others will need care for several hours per day. Finding a company that can customize a set of in-home services is crucial to helping keep your parent happy and healthy – and give you better peace of mind.

Think Aging can help! Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation by emailing Liz at [email protected]. We’ll help you determine what’s best for your parent. We may also be able to help you connect with an in-home care facility in your area.


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