While this decision to remain in one’s home is not primarily about you — the son, daughter, grandchild, caregiver — exhaustion can be a good gauge of a decline in older adults’ ability to care for themselves. Keeping someone at home can require lots of hands-on support or care coordination, and this is time-consuming. If you or your loved one’s need for care is becoming unmanageable or if there are feelings of a collective strain regarding caregiving activities, it may be time to start looking at other options.
Safety is crucial, of course, but so is emotional well-being. If someone living alone is riddled with anxieties or increasingly lonely, then that may tip the scales toward a move not solely based on health and safety reasons.
With appropriate permission, your loved one’s primary doctor may share your concerns about his or her patient’s safety at home — or may be able to alleviate those concerns or suggest where to get a home assessment.
Are you or your loved one having difficulty with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)? ADLs are the skills needed to live independently – dressing, shopping, cooking, doing laundry, managing medications, etc.
Did you or your loved one take a fall, have a medical scare, or get in a fender bender? Who responded and how long did it take?
How did you or your loved one weather the most recent injury or illness? Was he or she able and willing to seek medical care when needed?
Do you or your loved one have a chronic condition that is worsening?
Is you or your loved one showing signs dementia?
Are you or your loved one experiencing noticeable weight changes? This could indicate poor food choices or meal preparation problems.
Can you or your loved one rise easily from a chair? Does she or he seem unsteady or unable to balance?
Are you or your loved exhibiting signs of poor hygiene?
Do you or your loved one still go on outings with friends, visit with neighbors, or participate in religious activities or other group events?
Have you or your loved one abandoned hobbies or cancelled club memberships?
Do you or your loved one spend days without leaving the house?
Do you or your loved one require someone to check in on them on a regular basis?
If there’s a fire, tornado, flood, or other disaster, is someone on standby to assist? Do you or your loved one understand the plan?
Are you or your loved having difficulty managing personal finances or other related personal matters?
Do you or your loved one have difficulty driving or is nervous about driving themselves?
Do you or your loved have issues keeping a vehicle maintained?
Broken appliances. Check them all: microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, washer, and dryer – any device you know your loved one uses (or used to use) routinely.
Are you or your loved one finding it difficult to keep the house clean and well maintained?
Are you or your loved one having trouble tending to household pets?
Are you or your loved one neglecting to retrieve and/or respond to the mail, answer or return phone calls and e-mails?