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'Red flags' to watch for with aging parents


Last updated 11/15/2007 at Noon

During the holidays, as families gather, they may be overwhelmed at the changes they see in their older parents. They want to help, so many make suggestions for Mom or Dad. But parents often resist – because they don’t want to lose control or because the adult children don’t really know how to approach this subject in a way that the parents can accept.

Professional Geriatric Care Managers (PGCMs) can prepare families for visits and give them strategies for difficult conversations as well as ideas for support and/or resources. A consultation with a PGCM before the visit will assure the time is well spent and that the adult children will have time for a pleasant visit rather than spending all their time arguing with or trying to convince aging parents that they need help.

If you see any of these ‘red flags,’ you may want the guidance of a PGCM before you make decisions for, or even suggestions to, your parent. However, sudden changes may require immediate medical attention.

Red flags:

• Change in weight

• Change in short-term memory

• Change in usual routine

• Change in speech and/or ambulation

• Bills not being paid

• Not able to attend to housekeeping or personal care

• Entering contests or sweepstakes

• Refusing to go with friends on outings or going to church

• Refusing any suggestions

• Mood swings, getting angry quickly

In the Western States, Professional Geriatric Care Managers can be found at Outside the Western States, families can find a PGCM at

A local Geriatric Care Manager is Innovative Healthcare Consultants at and (877) 731-1442.


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