How to Tell When a Senior Needs Care and Assistance

Sometimes it’s easy to know when a family member needs care and assistance.  For instance, maybe he or she has a major disability or requires additional help following a hospital stay.  In other cases, however, it isn’t immediately obvious that your senior is in need of help with the activities of daily life.

As people who have had to wrestle with our own family decisions, we thought it useful to provide early guidance, so other families might know when a more careful assessment of their senior’s needs is required.

Below is a list of questions to consider when determining if a loved one is in need of additional care:

  • Pay Attention to How They Look – Appearance can be a sign that they are being limited either physically or mentally from completing normal daily tasks.
  • Are they wearing dirty or stained clothing?
  • Have they brushed their teeth?
  • Listen to the Senior – Listening to how seniors speak can tell you a lot about their current mental status. Don’t assume that “old age” is causing these problems.
  • Have they forgotten to refill prescriptions or take their medicine?
  • Have they missed doctor’s appointments?
  • View the Senior’s Surroundings – Looking at their food and medications can help you determine if they are eating healthy or even worse, taking expired medicine.
  • Do they have fresh and stocked pantry items?
  • Are there piles of unopened bills?
  • Use Your Nose – Using your nose as an indicator can help you determine if your family member is bathing properly or participating in otherwise normal activities.
  • Does their living environment possess any unpleasant odors?
  • Are they bathing regularly?

If you sense a problem based on the above indictors, you and other family members should waste no time in taking the appropriate next steps. As difficult as the process might be, keep reminding yourself that by being proactive you will not only provide safety for your family member, but will also keep them happy and healthy for years to come.

Editors note: This article was submitted by Charles Fairweather (908-322-8200) and Herb Ronde (973-452-0575), local owners of BrightStar, a full-service in-home medical and non-medical agency offering caregiving  to seniors and disabled adults. They would gladly provide assistance in these matters.