Your aging parent may be keeping secrets from you. Not necessarily lies, but withholding of information that may be important to their health, safety or general well-being. Sometimes, when elderly parents keep secrets, its because they feel their Independence slipping away. They might be embarrassed to ask for help. They might fear their family's reaction. They might be afraid that family members will "put them away." Or they simply might not want help.
So they cover up bruises, falls, car accidents, money trouble, alcohol use, and more. Ironically, when they keep secrets, seniors are actually putting themselves in danger and often increasing the chance that they will have to rely on others to care for them.
There are a wide range of "secrets" that elders tend to keep, according to Marilyn Sharbach Ladew, MSW, a nationally recognized expert in senior caregiving.
Here are the top 10 most common secrets.
1. Falls: Falls are the leading cause of death, injury and hospital admissions among the elderly population. "It's easy for an elderly person to cover up a fall, particularly if no bruising or bone breaks was suffered. Your parent may worry that you will try to him/her to a wheelchair or walker," Ladew says. The preservation of independence is of major importance to older adults, even at the risk of falling.
2. Pain: "So not to cause you worry, your parent may not tell you about new or increasing pain," she says. As a caregiver, you need to know about pain so that you can get the proper medical treatment or medication for your loved one.
3. Dizziness: "Dizziness could be caused by low blood pressure or a medication" Ladew explains. Although your parents may not want to alarm you, this is a potentially serious and dangerous problem that needs to be addressed.
4. Auto accidents or driving infractions: "Your parent probably wants the freedom and independence that driving provides. Therefore, if they are in an accident or receive a driving violation, they may withhold that information, for fear that you will take away the car keys," Ladew says. A driving violation or accident may be indicative of failing health conditions such as vision, mobility or mental awareness.