As the elderly population increases, more consideration is given to providing for the needs of the aging. Families and caregivers juggle family responsibilities and careers, while trying to provide a sustainable existence for themselves and their older loved ones. Too often, family caregivers worry about whether their efforts and expertise are sufficient to adequately meet their older loved ones’ physical and emotional needs. If you are caring for an aging family member–either in your home, in their home, or by long-distance–there are assessment techniques you can use to determine if you and they need additional support.
IF YOU ARE WONDERING IF YOU NEED HELP, ASK YOURSELF…
- Do I have the time and ability to provide all of the support my loved one needs on a daily basis?
- Does my loved one require more care than I have the physical strength to provide?
- Would help and support from others help maintain quality of life for my loved ones and myself?
WHEN EVALUATING YOUR LOVED ONE, MAKE OBSERVATIONS OF THE FOLLOWING…
- Are they wearing appropriate clothing for the time of day?
- Are their clothes clean?
- Is their hair completely combed?
- How often do they brush their teeth?
- Does she continue to wear makeup?
- Does he shave regularly?
Where They Live:
- Is the house orderly and clean?
- What is being neglected: mail, daily chores?
- Does any room, cupboard or appliance smell?
- Is garbage collected and disposed of regularly?
- Do they have fresh food and an adequate amount of pantry items?
- Is old food being stored and consumed? (A check of expiration dates may be revealing.)
- Is the kitchen safe?
- Can they navigate well inside the kitchen?
- Is water being left on in the bathroom or kitchen?
- Is the stove or oven left on?
- Is your loved on wandering away from the house or getting lost?
- Is your loved one toileting appropriately?
- Are you observing other cleanliness or safety issues?
- Do they appear healthy?
- Are they speaking normally?
- Is their skin color normal, soft and supple?
- Are there any skin tears or abnormal bruising?
- Are they losing weight?
- Are various prescriptions being taken on time and in the correct doses?
- What about expiration dates?
- Do the medications come from different doctors or pharmacies?
Emotional Well Being:
- Is my loved one showing signs of confusion or dementia?
- Do they call you by name?
- Are they up on the news?
- Are there engaging in outside activities?
- Do they make plans and look forward to them?
- Are there signs of depression?
- Is the home cluttered in a way that is unsafe?
- Are memory problems causing appliances to be left on?
- Are strangers being inappropriately admitted to the home?
- Do you have general concerns for personal safety?