To help determine if older people need help to stay at home, Visiting Angels, a leading network for quality, compassionate home care, has developed this simple checklist:
Check their appearance
Appearance is an immediate clue that the activities of daily living may be becoming more difficult. It’s also a potential indicator of deteriorating vision and possibly changes in mental acuity.
• Are they wearing appropriate clothing?
• Is there a drastic change in their clothing choices?
• Are their clothes clean?
• Is there any inappropriate body odor that could indicate difficulty bathing, washing their hair or brushing their teeth?
• Have they made any drastic changes to their appearance (i.e., wearing more or less makeup, not wearing dentures)?
Take a look around the house
A change in housekeeping and food choices can indicate difficulty managing shopping, cleaning or cooking.
• Is the refrigerator properly stocked?
• Is the house at its usual level of tidiness or is there a change?
• Are dishes and laundry being taken care of in a timely manner?
• Is there expired food in the pantry?
• Ask about meals – are they eating enough? What about water intake?
• Are medications organized or are there expired medications or bottles all over the house?
Talk about their daily routine
Giving up activities, missing appointments and ignoring the mail are all signs that an older person may need help. They’re also signs of possible depression, which is affecting older Americans at an alarming rate. If you notice a change in interests or participation in activities, consider speaking with the person’s doctor to rule out medical problems, and look into arranging assistance.
• Ask about activities and friends. Are they still participating in things they enjoy? Are they able to get themselves to where they want to go?
• Ask about their doctor appointments. Do they understand their medications? Have they skipped or missed appointments?
• Check on the bills. Are they paying bills on time, or is the mail being ignored?
Staying in their home is typically the goal of most seniors. But caring for a home and managing the activities of daily living is increasingly difficult as we age. Many older adults are afraid to admit that reality because they fear losing their independence or admitting they need help. A holiday visit represents an ideal opportunity for adult children to assess older family members’ living situations and see if home care could help them.
If you believe your loved ones might need home care, call Visiting Angels at 925-240-1100. A confidential consultation might help your loved ones stay at home safely – and give you peace of mind.