Everyone’s situation is unique, but the following five questions will help you assess your loved one’s need for in-home support.

  • How many times has he or she been hospitalized in the last year?

Most health-related problems are gradual.  If your loved one is suffering from accidents or falls, or has recently undergone an acute medical procedure, she may need support when she returns to her home.  Getting support for a transition can prevent future incidents and hospitalizations.

How well does your loved one walk?

Difficulty walking could indicate a more significant issue with balance or coordination.  Weakness, numbness in the legs, and shortness of breath can all indicate a more serious issue and should be discussed with a health care professional immediately.

  • How many medications is your loved one using?

As a rule of thumb, the more medications, the greater the chance for possible complications.  How is your loved one managing his medication?  Is he using a pillbox?  Is it his AM and PM medications organized properly?  Does he run out of a medication frequently?  Has he stopped taking a medication? Does he keep a list of all his medications?  The answers to these questions can give you a sense of how well he is handling his self-medication.

  • How well is your loved one managing his or her chronic disease or long-term condition?

By the time most of us reach retirement, we will likely be managing one or more chronic diseases or long term conditions.  How well is your loved one managing these challenges?

Diabetics and Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients will need the help of medical devices.  Ask to look at your loved one’s diabetic meter or CPAP machine.  Is she using the devices?  Are they in good condition?

If a loved one has a history of eczema, look at her trouble spots.  Is she suffering from an outbreak?

Evaluate how well she is managing her chronic or long-term condition.  Is she able to manage it on her own or is it time to get her help?

  • How well is your loved one handling the tasks of normal life?

Spend some time in your loved one’s home.  Evaluate his housekeeping and personal hygiene.

Bedroom:  How often are the sheets being changed?  Is laundry piled up?  Is his bedroom upstairs or down a narrow hallway?

Bathroom:  Is the bathroom clean?  Is he missing towel racks or cabinet doors? Is it a tub-shower combination?