WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR ...
Talk to your elderly loved one and assure them they can remain independent, but it may be time to accept some support. An assessment can help solve problems, resulting in fewer accidents and illnesses, and improved quality of life. If you’re worried about your elderly relative and are considering asking for a needs assessment, go through the following checklist to help with the decision.
Has an elderly family member been diagnosed with any chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis or emphysema? What about bowel or bladder problems, heart disease, stroke, or cancer? Do they have vision or hearing problems, excessive weight loss or gain, or difficulty walking? Make a list of health professionals they currently see and add any recent hospitalisations.
Has the person been diagnosed with any mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety or psychosis? Is there a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia? Is the person showing signs of confusion, disorientation or isolation? What about mood swings, forgetfulness, sadness or loneliness?
What medications are they currently taking? What is the dosage? Are they taking their medication as directed? Include over-the-counter medications.
Daily living skills
Is your family member able to dress, bathe, get up from a chair, use the toilet, climb stairs and use the phone? Can the person call for help in an emergency? Are they able to shop, prepare meals, do housework and garden? Can they drive safely?
Home and community safety
How safe is the person’s neighbourhood? Is the home equipped with smoke alarms and can they hear them? Would they be able to avoid phone and door-to-door fraud? Can they maintain their property without help?
Does the elderly relative have frequent visitors or see friends? Do they participate in community and social activities or get out of the house to pursue interests? Do any other family members live close by? Does the aged person keep handy names, addresses and phone numbers of loved ones they can contact in an emergency?
Appearance & hygiene
How is the older person’s overall appearance? Has there been any change in their hygiene?
Can they live on their current income and will it meet their future needs? Do they pay bills on time and cope with financial decision-making? Are all their legal documents – trusts, wills and enduring powers of attorney – up-to-date?