Is it memory loss due to the aging process or the early onset of dementia? Initially, cognitive changes can be subtle and challenging to diagnose. As a result, it can be difficult to decide if a loved one is able to continue living independently or if it’s time to seek assistance through in-home care or a long-term care facility.
Your answers to the following questions may help you determine the most appropriate course of action to take for your loved one:
Independent Living Test1
- Are prescriptions not being refilled, resulting in failure to take medication when scheduled?
- Has taking medication become difficult due to poor memory or confusion? Evidence may include taking pills at the wrong time, mixing pills in a pillbox, or having an oversupply or undersupply of pills.
- Have conditions previously under control become acute because medication is not being taken correctly?
Food and groceries
- Based on past food habits, are the cupboards frequently empty or being filled with unusual foods?
- Is the food in the refrigerator often spoiled or kept long beyond the “use by” date?
- Are credit cards or checkbooks being misused or not balanced as well as in the past?
- Is the mail being picked up and opened regularly, or does it remain uncollected and/or unopened?
- Has the amount of social contact changed dramatically, so that there are few public outings or limited social visits with close friends?
- Has the ability to drive deteriorated? Is there a fear of driving or a recent history of multiple minor accidents that may be leading to isolation?
- Has there been a change in dress or appearance or a decline in personal hygiene that is not related to physical disability? Is dress appropriate for the weather?
- Have housekeeping habits changed so that a normally neat and orderly home is now cluttered and not cleaned regularly?
- Are pets that were normally well cared for suddenly not being fed or cared for as they had been in the past?
- Is there a sudden increase in ordering unnecessary items through the mail or televised advertisements?
Calls to family members or health care providers
- Has there been a marked increase in panic calls to family or medical providers without apparent need?
- Have unnecessary calls been made to 911?
As America’s population ages with people living well into their 80s and 90s, the need for long-term care services increases. Consider the coverage for care options that long-term care insurance can offer you and your loved ones.
1Source: Long Term Care Partners, LLC
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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