Checking In: Is Mom or Dad Ok on Their Own?

How Do You Decide if Your Aging Parents Are Safe?

Whether you live 5 minutes or 50 miles away from your aging parents, it can be difficult to assess how they are doing on their own as they get on in years. You may worry about whether they are able to handle the day-to-day domestic chores of life and keeping a house. Maybe you’ve even taken on a number of bigger household tasks for them—mowing the lawn, house cleaning once a week, minor repairs, dropping by with dinner a few times a week. How can you tell when it is time to take the assistance to the next level? Most likely your parents want to remain independent in their own home for as long as possible, but is it safe? 

According to’s article “Warning Signs That Your Aging Parent Needs Help,” written by Mike Campbell, author of “When Mom & Dad Need Help,” there are specific things to be aware of when trying to determine if your parents require extra assistance:

  • the house is often dirty  (i.e. dishes in the sink, needs vacuuming, floors need mopped, etc)
  • the yard hasn’t been mowed or is overgrown with weeds
  • sparse food in the fridge and pantry
  • unopened mail and/or unpaid bills
  • unkempt appearance, body odor, weight loss
  • bruises or cuts
  • dents or scratches on their car

Once you’ve determined that your loved one needs help with everyday tasks, pick a time to sit down with them and discuss what the options are. The conversation will likely be emotional for everyone involved, and your parent(s) may have trouble admitting they need help. Keep calm and imagine how difficult it must be for them to realize that they are losing their independence. Discuss their financial situation—perhaps they have sufficient savings or an insurance plan that could cover the cost of in-home care a few times a week. This option is ideal as it lets them remain in the comfort of their own home as long as possible, while giving you peace of mind that they are safe and their needs are being met when you can’t be there. is a leading online community that connects people caring for elderly parents to other caregivers, personalized information, and local resources. has become the trusted resource for exchanging ideas, sharing conversations and finding credible information for those seeking elder care solutions. For more information, visit


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