Five signs your aging loved one might need help at home

My dad, Bernie, was a collector. Bernie passionately lectured me on the many uses of paper grocery bags as he carefully grouped them into stacks of 10, tied them with twine and filed them in the furnace room. He collected pens as if one day there might be a global ink shortage. The pens were grouped meticulously and filed in a special drawer.

After my mother died, Bernie lived by himself. I visited him regularly and felt that, at 85 years old, he was doing well. I did notice a few changes, but I attributed them to age. His love of collecting paper bags and pens strengthened, but the neat and tidy nature of his collection started to slip, and the house became cluttered.

Bernie had always been a sharp dresser, but I noticed he was starting to look more dishevelled. I figured he spent so much time at home, he did not feel the need to dress up. Bernie’s fridge was always filled with hot dogs and vegetables, many past their best before date. He had never eaten hot dogs as far as I remembered, but I told myself that maybe his tastes were changing with age.

Renee Henriques reports.

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