Do I Need In-Home Care?

Determining if someone needs in-home care assistance is easier if you know what to look for and the questions to ask. Fearful of losing their independence, aging individuals will often mask or cover-up the signs and symptoms indicating they need assistance. You’ll need to ask revealing questions and look for patterns of behavior and neglect within these areas:

Activities of Daily Living

Difficulty walking, dressing, talking, eating, cooking, climbing steps, or managing medications by them self.

Personal Hygiene

Infrequent bathing, unusually sloppy appearance, bad body/mouth odor.

Responsibility Tasks

Unopened mail, unpaid bills, unfilled prescriptions, unreadable checkbook, phone calls aren’t returned, low food supply, laundry is piled up, spoiled food in refrigerator.

Health Condition

Weight change, appetite changes, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, burns, bruises, hearing loss, incontinence, spilling or dropping things (look for stains), sleeping too much or too little, dehydration.


Lack of interest in friendships, hobbies, or activities; curtains drawn day and night, no access to transportation.


Sadness or talk of feelings of depression and despair, abuse of alcohol or drugs, paranoia, refusal to communicate, unusual argumentativeness, verbal abuse.

Cognitive Abilities

Consistent forgetfulness about where things are, getting lost walking or driving, confusion, loss of reasoning skills, difficulty answering questions, inability to find the right word or complete a sentence, repetitive words or phrases, wandering, loss of sense of time or season, forgetting how to use ordinary things like a pencil, consistently forgetting to turn off stove, close windows, or lock doors.

More and more older people, electing to live independent, non-institutionalized lives, are receiving services from professional in-home care agencies as their physical capabilities diminish. Younger adults who are disabled or recuperating from acute illness are choosing home care whenever possible. Chronically ill infants and children are receiving sophisticated medical treatment in their secure home environments. Adults and children diagnosed with terminal illness also are being cared for at home, receiving compassion and maintaining dignity at the end of life. As hospital stays decrease, increasing numbers of patients need highly skilled services when they return home. Other individuals are able to stay at home to begin with, receiving safe and effective care in the comfort of their own homes through professional personal care agencies.

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