Use a little sleuthing to uncover health problems that Mom and Dad may not reveal.
Every year at this time, Paula Falk receives an influx of calls from adult children concerned about the decline of their elderly parents. “They visited at the holidays and saw the reality of their parents’ situation, which is much different than what Mom or Dad had been describing on the phone,” says Falk, director of caregiving services at the Friendship Centers in Sarasota, Florida. It’s a nonprofit comprehensive senior center that caters to one of the country’s largest retirement populations.
The phenomenon isn’t limited to regions rich with retirees. America is getting older, with adults 65 or older comprising about 15 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, according to the Pew Research Center.
But older adults typically prize their independence and may not let on that they need help. “Sometimes you’re shocked when you visit,” says Dr. Michael Perskin, a geriatrician at NYU Langone Health. “You walk into a parent’s house and the bathrooms are dirty or there’s no food in the refrigerator. That represents a change.”