Life Essentials| Part One : A Sound Options Series on Determining the Needs of an Aging Loved One


LIFE ESSENTIALS :: Part One: Nutrition, Hygiene, & Home 

It can be difficult for many people to see their aging family members and loved ones change over time. Unfortunately, for many families it takes a crisis, like a fall, to make them aware of their parent’s circumstances. It is important to watch for signs of new needs and assess those changes on a regular basis to maximize safety and make sure they are free to enjoy their lives. Seeing those changes and facing them begins with knowing what to look for and asking the right questions. This three part Sound Options series, breaks down the important topics you should be looking at and lists the important questions you should be asking:


Tips for Planning Care:

  • Gather all the facts
  • Understand preferences
  • Prioritize
  • What financial resources are needed?
  • Family involvement?
  • Professional help?


PART ONE: Nutrition, Hygiene, & Home 


  • Are you finding spoiled food in the refrigerator or left on countertops when you visit?
  •  Is your family member taking in enough fluids?
  •  Does your loved one take multivitamins or other supplements?

Personal Care & Hygiene

  • Have you noticed changes in the person’s hygiene habits?
  •  Are appliances/water heaters working correctly?
  •  Are there physical impediments to personal care?
  • Are there cognitive impediments to personal care?
  •  Do they have appropriate clothing that is easy to put on and take off?

Safety & the Home

  • Are there sturdy railings on outdoor walkways and stairs, as well as indoor stairways?
  •  Are all areas inside and outside the home well-lit?
  •  Is the home in disrepair?
  • Are hallways and walking “paths” in the home clear of clutter and fall hazards?
  •  Are cupboard shelves and appliances within easy reach?
  •  Does your loved one use a woodstove for heat?
  • Are basic adaptive devices in place, such as skid-proof flooring in the tub, and grab bars in the shower and around the toilet?
  •  Can your loved one use the telephone?
  •  Is there a list of emergency contacts within easy reach of the telephone?
  •  Does your loved one have a mobile phone?
  • Does your loved one know how to use his/her mobile phone?
  •  Does your loved one need a personal alarm system?
  •  Do door and window locks work and does your loved one consistently use them?
  •  Who has spare keys to the home?  Who has spare keys to the car?

Published on May 13, 2013.