Does My Loved One Need Help?
 
Are you concerned for a loved one and their ability to safely remain in their home?  Completing this simple assessment will help you identify potential
risks and threats to their independence, and will give you a starting point for finding options to address those needs.
 
These questions are phrased in such a way that "yes" answers suggest a possible area of concern.  If you answer yes to more than three or four questions it may be time to seek out services, programs or resources that can help.
 
Physical Health
  1. Has your loved one been diagnosed with any chronic illness or disease?
  2. Have they been hospitalized?
  3. Have they fallen or had accidents because of weakness, dizziness or inability to get around?
  4. Has there been a recent change in weight - especially unexplained weight loss?
 
Mental Health
  1. Has your loved one been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia or memory loss?
  2. Have they been diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety or psychosis?
  3. Are they showing signs of confusion, disorentation or isolation?  What about mood swings or forgetfulness?  Sadness or Loneliness?
  4. Do they have mental or emotional problems that might make them a threat to themselves and others?
 
Medication Use
  1. Is your loved one taking medications - either prescriptions, over-the-counter or supplements?
  2. Do they ever forget their medicines or skip doses to save money?
  3. Do they have trouble taking their medications as directed, i.e. the right amount at the right time and with the proper foods or liquids?
 
Daily Living Skills
  1. Do they have difficulty bathing or dressing?
  2. Do they have trouble getting up from a chair, walking or navigating stairs?
  3. Do they have trouble making it to the bathroom in time?
  4. Do they have trouble using the phone or getting help in case of an emergency?  Have they ever forgotten to hang up the phone?
  5. Do they need help shopping, preparing meals, doing housework or yard work?
  6. Do they have poor eating habits?  Have they lost interest in their favorite foods?  
  7. Have they ever forgotten to turn off the stove, oven or water?
  8. Is their home unkept and does it need cleaning?  
  9. Do you worry about their driving abilities or think they shouldn't be driving?
 
Home and Community Safety?
  1. Are you concerned about how safe your loved one's neighborhood is?
  2. Does their home have safety issues, i.e. throw rugs, smoke alarms that don't work or can't be heard, steps that can't be navigated, wiring problems or inadequate heating and air conditioning.
  3. Do they refuse to use a wheelchair, walker, hearing aids or other assistive devices necessary for safety?
  4. Are they vulnerable to telephone, mail or door to door soliciations or fraud?
  5. Have they ever gotten lost or been unable to find their way home?
 
Socialization-Support Systems-Interest-Lifestyles
  1. Has your loved one stopped having frequent contact with family and friends?
  2. Do they lack family or friends nearby to call on for help?
  3. Are they reluctant to leave the house?  
  4. Do they watch too much TV or sleep too much during the day?
  5. Have they lost interest in their favorite hobbies or pastimes, etc.?
 
Appearance and Hygiene
  1. Have you seen a decline in your loved one's personal hygiene i.e. unkept hair or clothes, poor oral hygiene, unshaven, body or urine odor?
  2. Do they wear the same clothes over and over?
 
Finances
  1. Is your loved one unable to live comfortably on their current income?
  2. Do they have trouble managing their money or checkbook?
  3. Are bills piling up or going unpaid?  Have their utilities ever been shut off?
  4. Are they receiving mail from lots of charities and feeling the need to respond to all requests?
  5. Can they afford their medications?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eight Signs You Need a Break When Caring for Someone 
 
 
Those who care for someone who is aging, has medical issues or who has Alzheimer's or other types of dementia might experience stress and burnout.   By asking yourself if you are experiencing any of the following emotional or physical symptoms, you can evaluate your stress level and see if you need to take measures to change it.
 
1. A Short Fuse---- Frustration may increase as challenges arise, but if you lose your cool easily, there may be more going on.
 
2. Emotional Outbursts--- It's natural to feel a complicated range of emotions, but if you are increasingly emotional or emotionally fragile, it may be cause for concern.
 
3. Sleep Problems--- Caregiving can require a lot of physical effort, but if your family member wanders or has disrupted sleep, you lose opportunities to rest.  Stress, anxiety and depression can also cause sleep troubles. 
 
4. Significant Weight Change--- Gaining or losing weight can be caused by anxiety, depression and lack of adequate nutritional meals.
 
5. Lethargy--- Adapting to the routine of a demetia patient can sometimes feel stifling, and the constant vigilance and activity can leave you feeling sluggish.
 
6.  Physical Ailments--- Constant mental and emotional stress can cause physical disorders.
 
7. Social Isolation--- Can contribute to stress.  It is healthy to spend time with others and take time for yourself.
 
8.  Comments From Family--- Its a common caregiver temptation to take on the entire burden of care, but it can become all-consuming. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"...accepting help doesn't have to mean giving up control."
 
                   -Sarah Dessen