When working with families the first word I hear is “Overwhelmed.” Here are some warning signs. Make sure you are proactive vs. reactive in regards to a senior loved one’s safety. If you have seen any of the following behaviors, be sure to contact their physician so they can recommend outside assistance.
1. Has your relative had accidents as a result of weakness, dizziness or inability to get around?
2. Has use of the stove, oven or other appliances become a safety problem because of forgetfulness?
3. Are there hazardous conditions in your relative’s home, e.g., bathroom and bedroom on different floors?
4. Does your relative refuse to use a wheelchair, walker or other assistive device necessary for safety?
5. Does your relative express a desire to die, or seem depressed, apathetic or without interest in living?
1. Is your relative unable or unwilling to use the kitchen for food preparation?
2. Is there a demonstrated nutritional problem such as weight loss, illness, anemia, etc.?
3. Does your relative eat only inappropriate foods that will not provide nutritional needs?
4. Does your relative “forget” to eat?
Handle medications (spills or drops them) or to give needed injections?
1. Is your relative unwilling or unable to get to the toilet when necessary?
2. Is your relative unable to change clothing or bed linens as necessary to remain clean and dry?
1. Does your relative forget to take necessary medications?
2. Is it likely that your relative would take an inappropriate dose of medicine, purposefully or accidentally?
3. Is your relative unable physically to handle medications (spills or drops them) or to give needed injections?
4. Is your relative unable to obtain help in case of an emergency?
1. Is your relative unable to handle money?
2. Does your relative get lost in familiar situations?
3. Has your relative left home without a destination?
4. Has your relative behaved inappropriately in public (threatened others, exposed self, etc.)?
5. Does your relative have mental or emotional problems that might be a threat to self or others?
By: Kim Kim D’Angiolillo, Kupuna Consulting