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Mother's Mom

Need Help?


Getting older means always wondering if you are still of sound mind.  When words are harder to find and names more difficult to put to a face the question arises:  "Am I losing in?  How do I know when I need help?"  It is difficult to self asses since we often can manage fine with those subtle memory losses and may not realize the impact on daily life.  Some changes may be "normal aging" while others may be early signs of dementia or treatable medical problems. Having a complete medical, neurological work-up is essential. Sometimes those close to us may notice problems but may be reluctant to mention it.  

Most important to planning is talking with family and/or friends to help plan for something still unknown.  Would you want to know when others think you are having problems?  At what point would you give up driving or have someone else take financial responsibility?  

There are four major categories for how one lives in the world and when help is needed described below to guide planning for yourself or by others.

                    Living In The World, Living At Home, Personal Self Care

There are tasks which have been categorized to help anticipate when and how one might need assistance with activities of daily living.

                             Advanced Activities of Daily Living:  Living in the World

Activities expected to achieve

Working for compensation

Social interaction with people through face to face encounters such as letters, email, using computer and internet

Driving a vehicle and traveling away from home

Engaged and interested in activities outside the home

Clues of potential problems

Changes in spontaneity or inhibition

Retreating from doing things as before

Change or loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed

Unable or procrastinating in completing a task

May lose previous flexibility and adaptability

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living:  Living at Home

       Activities expected to achieve

Managing money

Administration of medications

Shopping for essentials and pleasure

Using the telephone

Using transportation

Preparing meals

Doing housework


         Clues to potential Problems  

Difficulty managing check book and money

Missing medication or not getting refills

Not calling on phone when would previously

Choosing not to drive when previously would

Diet changing to prepared foods rather than preparing meal

House unkempt

Basic Activities of Daily Living 

Activities expected to achieve

Personal Living and Self Care

Executive functions as : attention, visuospatial skills, memory

Ability to self care:  bathing, dressing, continence then eating and grooming, transferring, toileting


Clues to potential problems

Difficulty selecting clothes to wear or being unable to dress

Not wanting to eat because "they just did" or not sure how to use utensils

Reluctant to shower, potentially too complicated


Unable to organize to put toothpaste on brush and brush teeth




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