When is it time?
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All too often, no one pays much attention to small signs that a parent's functioning is slipping. There is denial on both sides. Denial comes easily in our overscheduled lives. If your parent shows the signs of physical or cognitive deterioration listed below, it is time to draw up your plan for a gradually higher level of care in a professional setting.

 1. Deterioration in personal hygiene

 2. Unopened mail, bills not paid, accounts overdrawn

 3. Carpets stained with food

 4. Trouble remembering recent events

 5. Change in eating habits

 6. Repeatedly misplacing objects

 7. Inability to remember if medications were taken

 8. Unexplained bruises

 9. Frequent phone calls to you or others

10. Unexplained dents in the car

It is difficult to ignore your parent's impairments. Emotions can spin out of control very quickly. The signs listed below describe when a parent's health and safety are endangered. Action for professional help is overdue.

1. Musty odor in the house or on clothing

2. Urine -stained carpets

3. Noticeable weight loss or gain

4. Skin tears or open sores

5. Minor car accidents; knocked-off rearview mirrors

6. Repetitive calls at odd times

7. Inability to recall how the day was spent

8. Offensive mouth odor

9. Medication bottles too full or too empty

10. "Third and final" notices for phone and electricity payments