Be discreet, but search for warning signs that living alone has become too much to handle.
1) Hug. When hugging them do they feel like they are losing weight? Is personal hygiene an issue? Notice any bruises, burns, or other injuries.
2) Look. Is there a change in the level of cleanliness of the home? Are food items in the fridge and cabinets fresh? Do you see scorch or burn spots on pots/pans, countertops, or any place else in the kitchen?
3) Ask. “How are you doing?” Listen closely when your parent is talking to you. Keep an ear out for confused speech, difficulty carrying on a conversations or frequent repetition of stories.
4) Money. Are there collection notices, bills that are unpaid/ unopened, telephone messages from debt collectors? Do bank account statements include any questionable withdrawals?
5) Social. Get a sense of your parent’s social life to ensure they’re not becoming socially isolated. Make sure your parent doesn’t lose touch with good friends or give up on favorite activities.
6) Ride. With your parent driving the car, pay attention to whether their driving has deteriorated. If you don’t ride with them, look for dents on the car.