There are a multitude of things to consider when looking at safety for your loved one – or yourself – who is aging. Often times family members will visit for a holiday or special event and notice things have changed. Maybe the dishes are piling up or bills are stacked in the corner. Sometimes there are cleanliness issues or, simply, you’ve noticed that your loved one isn’t getting around the way they did the last time you visited.
The key is recognizing the changes. Some changes are subtle, while others are quite obvious, but acknowledging that things have changed is the first step. Then, to what extent are these changes affecting the safety of the person involved? Do you need outside help?
Changes to look for:
- Driving issues: Is your loved one confused? Do you notice dents in the vehicle or on the garage door? Take a drive with them and evaluate for yourself.
- Cleanliness: Do you notice things just are right? Did your loved one used to keep the house neat and now things are cluttered? Are dishes piling up? Is the bathroom clean? Laundry done? Is the trash taken care of? Anything that seems a little off from their normal routine.
- Forgetfulness: Are you noticing deficits that didn’t seem to be there before? Does your loved one seem confused? Do they seem to experience difficulty recognizing family members?
- Unsteady on their feet: Is your loved one shuffling as they walk? Do they appear to trip or stumble? Are there stairs in dangerous areas of the home where they must navigate them daily? Is there clutter in the home causing a tripping hazard?
- Shower: If you notice the instability above, are there any safety bars or slip guards in the shower or bathroom? Should there be?
- Bills going unpaid or overpaid.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you visit an aging loved one. If you notice anything, there are resources in the community who can assist you in determining the safety at home and steps that may need to be taken to help.
Please reference our resource guide to begin your search for help.