Determining Need for ADL
It can be difficult to first recognize, then admit, that a loved one needs assistance with ADL’s. It’s emotionally exhausting to watch someone who has been independent for a long time slowly become unable to complete simple daily activities, especially if that person is a loved one. Children, especially, have a hard time in the case of a parent. However, when the time comes for assistance with ADL’s, the first step is to recognize the signs that help is necessary.
Check the eating habits of the loved one. Does he or she eat less? Has appetite decreased? Is he or she hiding food or losing weight? The loved one may need a psychologist or nutritionist come into the home to help with food preparation, planning, and eating. The issue leading to not eating could be anything from a reduced ability to prepare food to depression.
Is the personal hygiene reduced to the point that others are noticing? Those who can no longer handle the bathtub or washing machine will wear dirty clothes, have body odor, have bad breath and will often develop sores on the skin rather than admit help is needed. Neglected hair and nails are further signs that assistance is necessary.
The home is often the first sign of necessary assistance, as a once neat home will become messy and unkempt. The sinks will not be washed, the beds will be unmade, and the floors will be neglected. While this may seem like an easy chore for family members who could come in to clean once a week, it is the tip of bigger issues. Going into a loved one’s home to clean up often reveals other issues found on this list.
No one knows your loved one better than you. Have there been behavior changes? Is the loved one unusually quiet or loud, suddenly paranoid, making phone calls at unusual times, or easily agitated? A change in personality is not to be taken lightly, and should be researched further to see if assistance in ADL’s is necessary.
Sometimes, friends or neighbors will express concerns over subtle changes in the loved one’s personality or behavior. While it can be difficult, these concerns should not be taken lightly. At times, it’s too hard for family members to admit there is an issue. Remembering that an outside source sometimes holds more clarity than those close to the issue is important. It is important to honestly assess any concerns, even if the concerns are not correct.
In addition to the sores from not being clean, a person needing assistance will have other “mystery” wounds. Accidents from falling, burns, and other injury marks will show up on the hands, arms, legs, and other areas. Illnesses could also happen from a misuse of medication or forgetting to take medications. Keeping an eye on the various bumps and bruises will help assess the need for assistance with ADL’s.
Has forgetfulness increased? Some individuals will forget to go to appointments or social gatherings, which is often a sign that other issues are occurring. If individuals are forgetting to attend their favorite events, they are also probably forgetting to take medications on time. One sign of forgetfulness is piling newspapers or mail.
Have you noticed your loved one forgetting to pay bills? Are there suddenly more gifts for no reason, or is the loved one entering a high amount of instant win contests? Perhaps the loved one is playing the lottery more often or subscribing to the same magazine more than once. Some individuals will begin purchasing more items from television advertisements, when discretion was used in the past.
These signs, individually or together, are signs that a person needs increased help at home. The Vancouver Home Health Care Agency aims to keep individuals in their homes, so if a loved one is exhibiting any of these signs, call us so we can help you assess the situation. As a family member, you are not alone in this struggle.
At Vancouver Home Health Caring Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.