Some times when we don’t see our loved ones often enough, and it is hard to see the signs that they may need help. Many times they feel that they are “fine” and don’t need help, or are too embarrassed admit that they can’t do what they used to. For some, if they admit they are declining it makes it real, so they find comfort in denial which can be dangerous. A major event can happen and then hopefully, it’s not too late. Here is a list of things from Cathy Cress (  that could help you to identify that your loved one needs assistance in the home.Is the yard getting out of control?


Curb appeal – Does your parent’s home look more like an unmaintained rental? Is there disrepair, a weedy yard, unclean carpets and furniture?

Housekeeping– Are there dirty dishes, unwashed sheets, a mess where things used to be tidy? Does the house look like it needs a scrubbing, at least someone to help with cleaning?

Medication- Can you find a stash of out dated medication in the bathroom, bedroom or anywhere?

Driving– Is driving with your older family member or friend frightening? How is there reaction time, or judgment?  Can they drive at night? Do they have traffic tickets? Assess the car. Is it worse for wear, dented or telltale signs of accidents?

Trash– Are there bags of trash piled up out back? Look in closets

Collections– are their growing collections that appear to be out of control? Designer plates from the US mint, antique dolls, ashtrays, cookie cutters. – Any accumulation that appears to be taking over space and looks excessive is suspect, this is a sign of hoarding.collections bookscollection out of control

Shopping– When they go shopping out for a meal, does the older person have trouble with credit cards, figuring tips, forgets their purse, calculating discounts?

Changes in behavior – Is the older person quiet when they used to be loud? Are they paranoid, having mood swings, unsocial when they were the belle of the ball or life of the party?

Odors-Do you smell urine?

Refrigerator– Are there science experiments aka moldy food in the refrigerator?

Here are some things to look for and discuss with your loved ones what the problems may be and how you can remedy the situation, so that it doesn’t balloon into serious a problem. Sometimes a few adjustments are enough to keep someone healthy and happy in the home.


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