We all love our independence and certainly want to support our loved one's desire to live independently, too. But what if you begin to notice things that are calling into question their safety and well-being? How do you know when it's time to intervene? What are the signs to look for? Who can you turn to for help?
At Visiting Health Services, we've developed a helpful assessment tool to help you evaluate how your loved ones are doing and if they need some extra help from a professional.
Do they have a chronic illness such as diabetes, severe arthritis, or high blood pressure? Or do they suffer from a more serious illness such as cancer, stroke, or heart attack? Have they put on or lost a lot of weight that is unexplained? Fallen down? Are they having trouble walking, sleeping, or driving?
Are they showing signs of confusion, forgetfulness, isolation, or depression? Have they been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, Alzheimer's or other form of dementia? Have you witnessed drastic mood swings, sadness, or loneliness?
Can they dress themselves? Bathe, comb their hair, climb stairs, use the phone? Can they safely cook and prepare their meals, drive their car, go to the store, or do light housekeeping?
How would you rate their overall appearance? Are their clothes clean? Do they bathe regularly? Brush their teeth daily?
Are they routinely taking their medications? How many do they take and what are they for? Are their medications being purchased at the same pharmacy so a pharmacist can look out for possible conflicts in their medications? What are the side effects?
Have they lost interest in their favorite hobby or stopped doing things they used to love like gardening, reading, going to church, or seeing friends? Loss of interest, isolation, and lack of energy could mean they are depressed or ill.
Are they keeping up with their bills? Spending their money wisely? Can they afford to pay for the things they need like food, electricity, gas, or medicine?
Is the apartment or house being kept up? Can they get around in it easily and safely? Is the neighborhood safe? Are the smoke and burglar alarms working?
Do family members or friends live close enough to routinely visit and check up on them?