Checklist: How Well is Your Loved One Doing Living Alone?

  • Older adult

Are you worried about parent or loved one when you can’t be with them? Are they safe living in their home? The checklist below will help you evaluate how well your loved one is handling the challenges of living independently.
As needs change, many older adults require additional household or personal assistance, or a move to assisted living or another community living situation. Surrey Services is here to help. 

Household Management

  • Is there food not thrown away when spoiled?
  • Is there an unpleasant odor in the home?
  • Is the home dirty? Are there complaints from neighbors about the condition of the home?
  • Is there unopened mail piling up?
  • Are the bills being paid? Are they receiving late notices?  Are there surprising thank you notes from charities?
  • Are pets or plants being neglected?

Health and Safety

  • Are appliances turned off when they should be? Are you finding burned or scorched pans?
  • Would appropriate action be taken in an emergency?
  • Has there been unexplained weight loss or gain? Bodily odor?
  • Are they saying they are eating but the groceries are not being used?
  • Is there unexplained bruising or is your loved trying to hide bruising from you?
  • Are they unsteady when walking? Have there been frequent falls?
  • Does the home have appropriate safety devices such as grab bars?
  • Is there inappropriate use of medications—over or under dosing? Are medications needing to be filled too early, or are there are too many pills left when a refill is due? Are medications found all over the house?
  • Are there frequent visits to the emergency room?
  • Are they driving and should they be? Are there unexplained scratches or dents on the car? Have they told you they got lost when driving?


  • Are appointments being missed?
  • Is there an inability or difficulty performing tasks that were once easy?
  • Is there forgetfulness, confusion, or a diagnosis of dementia?
  • Are they calling you repeatedly for the same reason?
  • Is there a decline in personal hygiene?
  • Are they wearing the same clothing each time you visit? Are the clothes clean? Are the clothes appropriate for the season?
  • Is there excessive shopping? Are they ordering products seen on TV which are not appropriate or purchased in large quantities?
  • Are there concerns expressed by friends or neighbors?
  • Are there changes in mood—mood swings or depression?
  • What is their emotional state?  Are they anxious or lonely?
  • Is the parent awake at hours that are unusual for them (i.e. staying up all night and sleeping all day?)
  • Are they locking themselves out of the home?
  • Have they isolated themselves from friends or family?  Have they lost active friendships or are no longer participating in group activities such as religious groups.

If you have answered yes to many of these questions, it may be time to take action to ensure you’re loved one’s safety.  Sometimes just a few changes, or help just a few hours a week is all takes to make living at home safe and comfortable.  Call Surrey Home Care at 610-647-9840 to find out what resources are available and what the best course of action may be for you and your family.