Do you have an older friend or family member who is finding it more difficult to manage daily tasks in the home? Do you worry about the health and safety of a parent living alone?
Watch for clues that certain daily activities have become too difficult because of physical or mental changes. Are bills going unpaid? Is the person neglecting grooming or skipping meals? Does the home appear unkempt?
As abilities and strength diminish, families and other caregivers must often help the older person obtain the assistance needed to maintain independence.
Investigate and suggest resources such as bill paying services, "meals on wheels," lawn care, house cleaning, and window washing companies. Some elders will prefer professional help to dependence upon family members.
Introducing changes to the person's living environment or considering a move to more accessible housing is best approached long before safety issues become paramount.
Too often, the individual is facing losses in other areas of life and resistance to change is increased.
Introduce the idea of change through small, less intrusive modifications in the guise of gifts or services when you notice a need. For example, while replacing hard-to-reach light bulbs upgrade the wattage for improved visibility.
If adaptations or repairs are needed such as adding railings on stairways or replacing worn or uneven floor covering, etc., offer to help the individual make choices and deal with contractors.