An even emptier nest

By: Audrey Miller, MSW, RSW, Oct 18, 2012

How can you tell that it may no longer be appropriate for an older person to live at home?

Is it time to move your parents out of the family home?

Look for changes in behaviour that show neglect or difficulty completing basic tasks. Below are some warning signs, which may suggest that an elder needs professional care, such as:

  • Problems completing tasks involved in day-to-day living such as eating, walking, dressing, cooking or taking medications as directed by a doctor.
  • Infrequent bathing, dirty clothes, poor dental care.
  • Decline in mental function, such as frequent forgetfulness, getting lost while driving/walking, inability to communicate clearly, leaving the stove turned on, unusual behaviour.
  • Severe weight loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, bed wetting, sleeping too much or too little.

If you notice one or more of these things, it may be time to explore other options for care.

Audrey Miller, MSW, RSW, CCRC, CCLCP, is the managing director of Elder Caring Inc. She has spent the last 25 years working with disabled individuals and their families, focusing on rehabilitation issues to improve function at home, in the community and at the work place. Elder Caring was created to meet a growing need in the community for a coordinated, professional and interdisciplinary approach to service delivery with a focus on the health and well-being of the older person and their family. She has both a Bachelor’s level and Master’s Degree in Social Work and is registered in the province of Ontario. She is a Geriatric Care Manager, a Canadian Certified Rehabilitation Counsellor and a Canadian Certified Life Care Planner. To learn more, visit