In addition to our elderly parents, other family members may also suffer from denial. Have you ever said to yourself, “Mom and Dad seem ok. When I spoke with them last week, they said everything was fine.”

Can you honestly trust their opinion? Are they fooling themselves? Or you?

Many elders have a form of dementia, some cognitive impairment or memory issue, and/or a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It is extremely difficult for family members to accept that our elderly parents have gotten old, and changed. They have lost much functional ability, and they are no longer the parent you may remember. Having a realistic perspective about your elders is crucial.

If you are ignoring the signs of aging, you may be worsening the issue. You may be allowing your elderly loved ones to put themselves at risk.

Establish safeguards and reference points in observing behaviors. Do any dear friends whisper signs of observed deterioration? Does the doctor mention things to watch for? Is your own observation enough to cause you to stop and question what you have seen or heard? Ask questions from your family caregivers…what are they dealing with?

Are you observing anger? Do you see multiple and unusual disbursements from the checkbook? Are clothes increasingly soiled? Has there been a recent series of scratches or dents on the car?

There are professional resources available in most communities. Educate yourself on warning signs. Encourage medical involvement. Be aware that small, sometimes subtle changes in the aging continuum can be the alarm for increased scrutiny and assistance.

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: