Identifying the needs of older people can be difficult, especially if you are working with older people or just trying to help parents or other family members.
Your parents will often assure you that everything is fine because they don’t want you to worry about them. The truth is that they may not want your help and may not really feel like they need it.
He’s in a tough spot because he doesn’t want to meddle in her business, but he’s beginning to realize that he may need help. Here are some tips to help you objectively assess the situation:
#1 When you enter the house, what is your first reaction? Does the house seem too hot or cold? Are the rooms unduly stuffy or dark? Are the blinds and curtains lowered in the middle of the day for no apparent reason?
#2 Is there an odor in the home? The elderly often have urinary problems and may have stained clothes or even dripping on the bathroom floor. Due to loss of vision and sensory perceptions, they may not be aware of the problem themselves.
#3 How is the kitchen, do you wash the dishes? Now, let’s be real here; if you come to my house unannounced, you may find dirty dishes or some chores undone. However, when they start to build up, it could be a problem. Notice the unwashed dishes; Is there dry food in them? Is there food left on the counter from the last meal?
#4 Take a look in the fridge. Are leftovers stored without lids? Are fruits and vegetables wilted or spoiled? Check if the condiments were stored properly and are not too old to use.
#5 If possible, check medicine cabinets or drawers. Check dates to determine if drug prescriptions are filled correctly and taken as prescribed. You may need to contact your doctor or pharmacist.
#6 Is the garbage emptied or are all the garbage cans overflowing? Are the tables and chairs cluttered with papers, mail, and magazines?
#7 When visiting a parent or loved one who doesn’t visit often, learn to focus on behavior changes or cleanliness. Do you see signs of increased neglect in any of the above areas? What has changed since your last visit?
#8 If you are concerned about mail being handled properly and bills being paid on time, you may need to contact your utility companies to make sure they are up to date.
Acknowledging the need for help is a start. Once you know what the real needs are, you can seek help to meet those needs. It’s good to have a small notebook to write down any changes you notice.
Today we are fortunate to have access to many agencies that work with older people. Knowing the scope of your situation is essential to ensure an adequate response to our questions when we seek advice.
Whether the elderly are family members or friends and neighbors, please respect their privacy and respect their wishes as much as possible. At the same time, do your best to properly assess the situation so that you can get the help you need.
By taking the time to objectively look at all household and personal needs, you can determine whether or not the need can be met with part-time help. If the situation calls for more drastic measures, you’ll be ready to help meet that need.