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SIGNS TO LOOK FOR TO DETERMINE IF SOMEONE NEEDS HELP
With families visiting those that they may not see throughout the year, the holidays are a perfect time to assess the needs of their loved ones. Ideally they will ask for our help, but, as frequently is the case, this may not happen.  They may decline assistance because they feel ashamed and hopeless. 
 
Some changes are barely noticeable. Sharpen your observational skills, and look for patterns of consistent neglect within the following contexts.
 
Driving
  • Have there been recent accidents, dents and scratches in their car?
  • Are they fearful of driving or not able to drive during the night?
 
Cognitive Problems
  • Is the home left in disrepair and unkempt?
  • Are they missing doctor appointments or forgetting to make them?
  • Are they making mistakes with their medication? Forgetting to take their pills?
  • Are foods left cooking on the stove?
  • Have pots been burned?
  • Consistent forgetfulness about where things are or of names
  • Getting lost or wandering
  • Difficulty answering questions or finding their words
 
Physical Decline
  • Signs of frequent falls such as bruising?
  • Refusing to use a prescribed cane or walker?
  • Weight loss
 
Basic Tasks
  • Foul body odor, not changing clothes, dirty clothes piling up
  • Have neighbors voiced concern? Inability to take garbage out
  • Are there unusual amounts of spoiled food in their refrigerator?
     
Finances and Mail
  • Is the mail piled up and unopened?
  • Are bills not being paid?
  • Do some bills are charges on a statement come from unrecognizable sources?
 
If so, its time to open up a dialogue with your loved one and other family members.  Assistance is available.
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