That doesn’t sound so bad, right? I mean your aging parents have certainly earned their privacy. Why not let them keep a few harmless secrets? Well what if it’s a secret regarding their health or how they’re being treated? You could be operating under a completely false assumption that everything’s fine. Maybe you won’t uncover the truth until the real damage has already been done.
Sometimes an aging family member will feel their independence slipping away. Maybe they fear their loved ones reaction. Perhaps they’re just embarrassed. You won’t know the answer until you sit down and have a frank discussion.
I see this often in my business and it always takes the children by surprise. I’ve compiled a list of the 10 most common secrets your parents may be keeping from you below. This will help you to be more aware and to ask the appropriate questions to get to the bottom of what’s happening to your aging loved ones.
- FALLS –
Are the leading cause of hospitalization and death among aging adults. Surprisingly, they’re not that difficult to cover up. What’s worse is the repercussions might be delayed. Perhaps blood clots are formed or if it’s a head trauma, it could lead to dementia.
- AUTO ACCIDENTS –
Your parents value freedom and mobility. They will not be too forthcoming with any news that may cause you to take the keys away. This could cause both financial and physical hardship for your loved ones.
- MONEY SHORTAGES –
The last thing your parents want to be is a financial burden. They may keep financial troubles to themselves until they hit crisis mode. This is not a good place to be. In the end, it will cost you both much more than it would’ve had they come clean.
- DIZZINESS –
Do your aging parents suffer from low blood pressure? Are they on the proper medication? They may not know or understand that dizziness could be a symptom of both health issues. If unattended, it will get much more serious very quickly.
- PAIN –
When you feel a bit of pain do you automatically run to tell anyone? You probably blow it off. Your parents are more than likely very similar to you. Add to that the belief that they shouldn’t worry you over every little thing and you’ve got a secret on your hands.
- GAMBLING –
Need I say more? They are certainly not telling you if they’re donating too much to their favorite Indian casino.
- ELDER ABUSE –
This is a scary one, because if their not telling you, they’ve probably been threatened. This is why it’s so important to vet everyone who comes in contact with you aging loved one. However, if an abuser still gets through, you must find out about it.
- ALCOHOL OR DRUG ABUSE –
Many times boredom is the culprit here. It makes sense that your aging loved ones might take a drink or five during the day. Not good. What’s more frustrating is the addictive properties of prescription drugs. Through no fault of their own, they may become addicted to pain medication they received from their doctor. The need to take it may be gone, but the abuse continues on.
- FINANCIAL ABUSE –
This can come in the form of professional abuse. For example, their mechanic may be less than honest. Perhaps their contractor sees an opportunity to make a little extra money. Ageism is real and your aging parents are targets. There is another possible abuser, a needy relative. Your parents are kind people and will want to give if a relative is in need, but when is it too much. When is that relative being abusive? It’s something to keep your eye on.
- FRIVOLOUS PURCHASING –
Come on, when was the last time you were up late watching QVC, phone in hand? Your aging loved ones are no different. Plus they may still have a landline, which means sales calls. There’s always direct mail pitches or Amazon.com. It’s never a bad idea to check in from time to time on what they’re spending and why.
These are not comfortable discussions I know, but they can save your loved ones from financial ruin and even death. I’d say it’s worth it.
If you’re looking for additional resources on eldercare and related subjects go to www.strec.com
If you’d like to stay connected, you can find Toni Patillo on www.facebook.com/tonipatillo&associates, twitter: @tonipatillo and email: toni(at)tonipatillo(dotted)com(dotted)