Ask the Gerontologist – 8/17

A gerontologist is a person with advanced studies in aging. At Colebrook, we collectively have several decades experience learning about and helping seniors and their families with issues ranging from physical and cognitive wellness to elder law to end of life. In this series, we offer the answers to our most commonly asked questions. We believe there is a reason we came together, and our goal is simply to cut the learning curve and support the people with whom we come in contact. Feel free to share this information, and learn more or ask a question you have at or call us at 860-801-1114.

Q: How do we know when more care is needed?

One of the questions we get most often is how to determine if more help is needed in the house. Honestly, most of the families who have asked it are responding to a gut feeling – something in their solar plexus or heart or wherever these feelings generate tells them something is wrong or needs their attention. Bottom line: trust your gut.

The question then becomes, how do I convince my family member that more help is needed? That’s when most people need more tangible “evidence” or symptoms that an issue needs intervention. Complex health issues are concerning, but other signs may necessitate action. More than one check in any section indicates further assessment is warranted.


  • Change in driving/minor accidents
  • Forgetting/mistaking medication
  • Falls(s) with or without injury
  • Trips to the emergency room
  • Burned pots/food
  • Resistant to medical advice
  • Home repairs or weather maintenance


  • Hygiene problems
  • Difficulty shopping or cooking food
  • Spoiled food
  • Hard to keep up property/house
  • Clutter/unsafe mess
  • Unable to change sheets/do laundry
  • Disheveled clothes


  • Socially isolated
  • Lonely or depressed
  • Episodes of aggression
  • Frequent calls
  • Anxiety/excessive worry
  • Fearful/paranoia
  • Leaves safe place/unable to find way
  • Refusing medications/care


  • Unpaid bills
  • Canceled services (cable, lights, etc)
  • Changing POA or will
  • Susceptible to scams
  • Risk of financial exploitation by others


  • Stressed or sick caregiver
  • No caregiver
  • History of abuse
  • Unexplained bruises ? Emotional abuse
  • Neglect/self-neglect

For more information, assessment or resources, call 860-801-1114.

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