Caring for aging loved ones can present a number of challenges. Because age-related conditions come on gradually, it can be difficult to detect them. In some cases, aging individuals may be resistant to offers of assistance. 

The gradual decline of skills and mental acuity often means that the need for help comes on gradually as well. Friends and family members can look for various signs that the person might be overwhelmed, such as a house that is not clean or a lack of personal hygiene. One of the big areas where older adults might struggle is with finances, but this can also be one of the most sensitive areas. It may help to talk to an attorney and a financial planner to better understand the issues and how to address them. 

People should also pay attention to whether their loved ones are having mobility issues. Older adults who are shuffling, unsteady, or who have trouble turning around may be at a greater risk for a fall. Modifications in the home, such as rails or bars, can help them move around more safely. Medicare or other programs aimed at older adults might pay for some of these. Older adults can suffer from depression as well, and individuals should watch for such signs as low energy, insomnia, irritability, and a change in eating habits. 

It can be particularly tough for adult children to talk to aging parents about these challenges because of the role reversal. It is important to be respectful of the autonomy of older adults. Starting these conversations before there is any noticeable decline is ideal. 

There are a number of federal, state, and local services available to help older adults. Adult children and others concerned about aging loved ones can contact their local area agency on aging for more information on resources. These resources may include a coordinator to link the person with needed resources and home care services to assist with a range of tasks, including housework, pet care, personal hygiene, transportation, and much more. 

By careful observation of older adults in their lives, talking to them, and finding out what resources are available, family and friends can improve their quality of life.