We hear from many adult children who are concerned about a parent. They are often concerned that the living situation at home has become dangerous, but are not sure whether it is time for them to step in and confront the parent with their concerns – or how to tackle the subject.
If the person has been diagnosed with dementia, the answer is clear: seek assistance from a health professional now. But if the path isn’t so clear, how do you know when your concerns are justified?
Broad categories to consider include medical safety; activities of daily living and personal care; home safety; driving safety, and financial safety.
If you are routinely noticing several of the issues listed below, it is time to discuss scheduling a doctor’s visit or contacting a senior home care agency such as Asbury Home Services to conduct a safety assessment.
- Missing appointments, forgetfulness and confusion regarding medications
- Stacks of unopened mail, late payments or bounced checks; payments to unknown sources
- Uncertainty and confusion when performing once-familiar tasks
- Repeated phone calls at odd hours
- Household chores are going undone
- Spoiled food in the home or scorched pots and pans
- Poor diet or weight loss
- Unexplained bruises or marks on the body
- Trouble getting up from a seated position or with walking and balance
- Unexplained dents and scratches on a car
- Infrequent showering and bathing or smell of urine in the house
- Decline in personal hygiene and dress
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Changes in mood or extreme mood swings
- Symptoms of depression such as lack of interest in old activities, crying or listlessness
Is Your Parent’s Home Suited for Aging in Place?
When assessing whether a home is well-suited to aging in place, there are several major areas to consider. This checklist focuses on interior safety, which is just one important assessment area. I strongly recommend hiring a home care professional for the task. They bring a fresh set of eyes, a more analytical approach and significant experience.
If mobility and balance is already an issue you are noticing, purchase an alert pendant system and cell phone. That way, if a fall occurs, help can be summoned.
- Are there throw rugs? These are a top cause of falls.
- Are there end tables, plants, chairs, newspapers or other obstacles in pathways?
- Is there a glass-topped coffee table or one with sharp edges in front of the primary sitting area?
- Is there a bathroom on the first floor?
- Is there a bedroom or room that could be converted for that purpose on the first floor?
- Are there nightlights in main pathways?
- Does the bathroom have (or need) grab bars to ease getting into the shower?
- Does getting into the shower require stepping into a bathtub?
- Does the shower floor have non-slip grips?
- Are cooking utensils and food easy to reach without a step stool?