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What to ask older loved ones about their wellbeing

How can you enquire about older loved ones’ level of functioning without making them feel that you’re questioning their competence? Try these conversation starters from SH’s community practitioners.

If you have older loved ones living alone or parents living independently, you may feel ‘out of the loop’ as to their health, wellbeing and ability to safely execute daily tasks independently. How would you know whether they’re coping? Has their health or level of function deteriorated? Do they need more support in daily living? It can be hard to tell from a phone call or FaceTime, either because they may be reluctant to disclose their difficulties or because they may not recognise changes to their own physical or mental function.

To help you to determine your older loved ones’ needs, the occupational therapists from our community division, which covers My Aged Care services, have put together this tip sheet.

What to ask older loved ones:

1. Have you been having any difficulties with getting around your home? Walking up/down steps?

2. Do you need support when getting up/down from chairs/toilet? Getting in/out of bed? Are you able to roll over in bed? Are you able to sit up in bed? Can you safely step into the shower?

3. Are you finding it increasingly difficult to get dressed or to reach down to put on shoes and socks?

4. Are you experiencing pain or fatigue when completing household tasks?

5. Are you having difficulty remembering to do important things? Do you have difficulty concentrating on tasks?

6. Is there any part of your daily routine you would like to make easier?

If you are concerned about a loved one’s level of functioning or safety at home, consider consulting an occupational therapist for advice and recommendations on support services and provisions that can help to maintain independence. 

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