How Do You Know When More Help is Needed

How Do You Know When More Help is Needed?
Most of us want to stay in our homes and live independently for as
long as possible. With advancing age or disability, it may be
necessary to live in a more supportive environment where there are
services and personal care options. Usually there are combinations of
risks, needs and wants that create a tipping point for considering a
move to a senior residence, a move to live with family or having more
care in the home. The most important considerations usually revolve
around concerns related to health, safety and emotional well-being.
Below are some factors to consider when thinking about these issues
for yourself or a family member.
Emotional and mental health. Riddled with anxieties, increasingly
lonely, isolated, fearful or paranoid. Depressed? Agitated?
Frequent accidents or close calls, like falls or medical scares.
A slow recovery from a recent illness. Did it develop into something
serious? Was medical help sought when needed?
Inability to take medications as prescribed because of memory
impairments or behavioral issues.
Worsening of a chronic health conditions such as chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, dementia or congestive heart failure.
Greater difficulty in managing activities of daily living, like dressing,
bathing and transferring, eating, tolieting and hygiene.
Bodily changes, like obvious weight loss or gain, increased frailty or
unpleasant body odor.
Safety is threatened with an inability to respond appropriately in an
emergency or diminished because there is no one near to check on a
regular and frequent basis.
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Cognitive difficulties suggested by mail in a chaotic state, scattered
about and unopened, unpaid bills, opening the door to strangers,
uncontrolled spending or evidence of being an easy target for scams.
Increased risks related to driving such as frequent accidents, failure
to fasten the seat belt or heed dashboard warning lights; signs of
tension, preoccupation or distraction while driving; damage to the
In the kitchen, signs of excess or forgetfulness, like perishables well
past their expiration dates.
Signs of fires such a charred stove knobs or pot bottoms, potholders
with burned edges, a discharged fire extinguisher. Do smoke and
carbon monoxide detectors have live batteries?
A once-neat home now cluttered, spills that were not cleaned up,
grime coating bathroom and kitchen appliances or an overflowing
laundry basket.
Neglected plants or pets.
Signs of neglect outside the home, like broken windows, debris-filled
gutters and drains, uncollected rubbish and an overstuffed mailbox.
Need help? Call the Housing Bureau for Seniors at 734-998-9346 or
Turner Senior Resource Center at 734-998-9353.
Adapted from Paula Spencer Scott, senior editor at