Since the 1950s, activities of daily living have been used as a measurement for seniors’ ability to function while living on their own. As an adult child of a senior, you may be wondering how to use this information when you really want the answer to one key question: How do you know when Mom needs more help?

img2Instead of moving to long-term care senior communities as they get older and their ability to care for themselves  begins to decline, many seniors prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as they possibly can. That plan can be feasible for seniors who only need limited  assistance and who have the benefit of a close network of nearby family and friends. But as the decline in being able to provide self care moves forward, it may become more difficult for a senior to meet her own needs without assistance. To gauge whether your parent needs additional help, consider the following general categories of activities of daily living.

Routine activities

To live on her own without help, Mom needs to be able to take care of everyday activities such as using the phone. Can she see well enough to look up numbers and dial? She needs to be able to move around safely, use the toilet, to wash dishes and clothing.

Medical management

Is Mom taking her medications as prescribed? Can she administer other needed treatments such as insulin if she’s diabetic? Is she able to schedule appointments with her doctor, travel there and communicate issues effectively? If you fear that your mother’s medical needs aren’t being met, it’s time to consider some additional help.

Grooming and hygiene

To continue living on her own without assistance, Mom needs to be able to engage in daily hygiene. This means attending to dental needs, bathing, washing and drying her hair, and putting on clean underwear and clothing. If you notice her hygiene beginning to slip, she needs assistance.

Social connections

It’s critical that Mom maintains connections with friends and loved ones and that she continues to enjoy her favorite activities. If you begin to notice signs that she’s not keeping in touch with you or with longtime friends, it could be a sign of depression, feelings of isolation or even early dementia.

Home maintenance

Is Mom able to maintain her living space, either on her own or with professional help? While she doesn’t actually have to be able to do yard work, she does need to be able to deal with vendors. If her home begins to show signs of wear, it may be time for some extra help.

Would Mom benefit from new technology to help her stay home longer and more safely?

Gauging when loved ones need additional help can be a challenge. IndependaTV™ can provide a trusted method for checking in, keeping track and keeping in touch. Video chat to see how Mom is doing in real time, and use the powerful dashboard to keep track of her health metrics, reminders and alerts. Nothing will replace your presence, but for all those times when you can’t be there in person, IndependaTV™ can stand in to give you peace of mind.

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