Your parents may be getting along in years, but there's a good chance that they still want to stay in their own home, if possible. To accommodate their wishes, you might consider hiring in-home assistance, or arranging for a home health aide to visit regularly, to ensure your parents are always safe and healthy. If you're not sure when it's good to start a discussion about hiring such a person, note a few signs that your parents might not be taking good care of themselves, and that they may need assistance.
Cleanliness of the home
Unless your parents have never kept their home clean, you might note if the house now seems dirty and unkempt, as this often means that an elderly person is struggling with everyday household chores. This is not something to overlook, as an older person might trip over newspapers and magazines they've allowed to pile up, or may be breathing in dirty, dusty air. It's also good to note if the food in the refrigerator always seem old, and this can indicate a failing memory, or struggles to get to the supermarket when needed.
Bruises, marks on the walls
If someone in a nursing home has bruises, this often indicates abuse, but bruises on someone in their own home are usually the result of falls, or of bumping into things as they struggle to walk. Marks and handprints on the walls can also mean that someone is holding those walls as they walk.
If your parents have balance issues, they're at risk of falling in the bathtub, which can mean hitting their head or breaking a bone. A fall anywhere else in the home can also be dangerous, and an unattended person might be left on the floor for hours and potentially even days. If you see these indications of balance issues, install handrails, and then also consider hiring a home health aide who can check on your parents regularly.
Since many seniors will often suffer from minor forgetfulness, how do you know when it's time to get assistance for your parents? First, note if their forgetfulness is consistent, versus the occasional oversight of a phone call to return. Also, note if their forgetfulness interferes with their health; for example, they might be forgetting to take medication, or taking a double dose because they can't remember what meds they've taken. In-home assistance can ensure that a parent's failing memory doesn't interfere with their overall quality of life, and also ensure their health is not at risk either.