According to a joint report from the Administration for Community Living and the Administration on Aging, nearly 14 million older Americans live alone.

While you want your parents to be as independent as possible, you also worry about their safety as they get older.

So, how do you know if your aging parent needs care?

To help answer that important question, here are a few things to watch out for.

The Condition of Their Home Has Deteriorated

When they were younger, your parent probably exhibited pride of ownership in their home – regularly mowing the lawn and keeping everything in good repair, for example.

If you’ve noticed that broken items and maintenance chores are starting to pile up, however, that the house is dirty, or that the lawn hasn’t been mowed in a while, that might be a sign that they aren’t as physically capable as they once were.

They Aren’t Taking Care of Themselves

In the same way, uncharacteristically poor personal hygiene, grooming, appearance, or eating habits could be a sign of physical or mental decline.

If your senior parent wears the same clothes for days or sometimes forgets to bathe or eat, they might need a home care worker to help them.

They Injure Themselves

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of death and disability among older Americans? Every second, somewhere in the US, a senior falls, often signaling the end of their independence.

If your parent has fallen or is at-risk, a home care worker can be the difference between life and death.

While he was the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden said, “Healthcare providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves.”

They Seem Depressed

Social isolation and loneliness can have a profoundly negative impact on the mental health of your older mother or father. Left to themselves, they may become reclusive to the point that they lose interest in hobbies or activities and may even stop leaving their house altogether.

One of the primary jobs of a home care professional is to keep an eye on the mental health of their clients. If they notice any red flags, the worker can notify you or an appropriate provider.


Ultimately, you are the one who is in the best position to judge if your aging parent needs care. If you notice anything amiss that concerns you, perhaps home care is an appropriate next step.