HomeSpark Care’s Advice On Knowing if Someone Needs Help

knowing if someone needs help

How to Know If Someone Needs Help Questionaire
Aging people are people in transition. The loss of family members and friends, a change in living arrangements or finances, retirement, the loss of driving privileges or even the death of a pet are lifestyle transitions that require the entire family’s attention. Ideally, our elders will ask for our help during times like these, but—as family members have learned— this may not happen. In fact, one aging parent might “cover” for the other, or one aging spouse may decline assistance from the other because he or she feels ashamed and powerless. HomeSpark Care has put together a list of factors keep an eye for when determining if your elderly loved one needs help.

Know What to Look For — HomeSpark Care is Here to Help!

Things may seem normal on the outside. Some changes are barely noticeable. Occasionally, we all forget details or put things off, but when a pattern of neglect develops, it may be serious. Remember, dementia (mental deterioration) is not a normal part of aging. Sharpen your observation skills, and look for patterns of consistent neglect within the following contexts.

Basic Tasks

Basic tasks to look for can include:

  • difficulty in walking
  • dressing
  • talking
  • eating
  • cooking
  • climbing steps
  • managing medications


HomeSpark Care recommends looking out for the following hygiene problems:

  • infrequent bathing
  • unusually sloppy appearance
  • foul body and/or mouth odor


There are numerous responsibilities our elderly loved ones take care of on a daily basis. Here are just a few forgotten responsibilities HomeSpark advises looking out for as a potential problem:

  • mail is left unopened
  • papers are piled up
  • checkbook is unreadable
  • bills are unpaid
  • bank account overdraft notices are accumulating
  • prescriptions are unfilled
  • phone calls aren’t returned
  • cooking pots and pans look burned
  • refrigerator interior has a foul odor
  • food supply is low, home interior and/or exterior is unkempt
  • laundry is piling up or the automobile has new dents


HomeSpark Care advises looking out for the following health problems as a sign your elderly loved one may need help:

  • weight loss
  • changes in appetite
  • problems swallowing
  • fatigue
  • burns
  • black and blue marks (possible signs of falling)
  • hearing loss (look for signs of lip reading and talking loudly)
  • seems withdrawn without a reason
  • incontinence (bed-wetting)
  • spilling and dropping things (check carpet for stains)
  • complaints of muscle weakness
  • insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • dehydration


Signs your elderly loved one may be isolating his or herself include the following:

  • lack of interest in outside friendships
  • activities
  • hobbies
  • keeps curtains drawn day and night
  • has little access to transportation
  • lives in another city or state and lives alone


Attitude is a significant sign to look out for in elderly loved ones. Attitude problems HomeSpark recommends watching for include:

  • sadness
  • display of verbal or physical abuse
  • talk of being depressed and feelings of despair
  • abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • paranoia
  • refusal to communicate
  • unusual agrumentativeness
  • recent emotional or medical crisis

Cognitive Functions

Lastly, cognitive functions HomeSpark Care advises taking notice of include:

  • consistent forgetfulness about where things are
  • getting lost while walking or driving
  • confusion
  • loss of reasoning skills
  • difficulty answering questions
  • inability to find the right word
  • use of repetitive words or phrases
  • severe personality changes
  • wandering
  • inability to recall names of familiar people or objects
  • inability to complete a sentence
  • forgetting how to use simple, ordinary things such as a pencil
  • forgetting to close windows, turn off the stove and lock doors
  • loss of sense of time

If some of these warning sighs are present, and you are beginning to question your elderly loved one’s ability to make choices and decisions, don’t scare yourself and other family members into thinking that these are the early stages of dementia. Overreacting and jumping to conclusions create communication friction and unfounded anxiety.

HomeSpark Care Recommends Opening Up a Dialog with Elderly Family Members

Based upon your observations, if you have concluded that elder care issued demand immediate attention, it’s time to take the next step and talk about it. But “let the caregiver beware,” as you are entering a potential minefield. Without knowing the most effective ways to initiate these very sensitive conversations with your elderly family members, the probability of them telling you to mind your own business, or telling your everything is fine when it is not, almost guaranteed.

Many older people are incapable of running their own lives and homes, but often are reluctant to admit they need help. Failing oversight, memory lapses, confusion, fatigue, sadness, drug and other substance abuses and appetite changes can account for a diminished ability to manage a home. There are definite signs that indicate some kind of assistance may be necessary.


Check out our Questionaire below for a more a detailed checklist of signs. If you believe your elderly loved one needs help, don’t hesitate to contact us here at HomeSpark Care with the link below! We are committed to providing the best care for your loved ones as they age. Taking care of seniors is our passion and we are proud to give back to those who have done so much for their families, communities and country.

How to Know If Someone Needs Help Questionaire

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