Does Your Loved One Need Help? Seeing the Signs

with Barbara Rose,

NaviGuide, United Church Homes

This week on Ask a NaviGuide, host Michael Hughes chats with Barbara Rose, one of our NaviGuides at United Church Homes. During the episode, Mike and Barbara talk about signs to look for as to if a loved one may need care. The conversation also addresses common changes in behaviors and emotions, how to speak to a loved one about needing care, and more.
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Highlights from this week’s conversation include:

  • Barbara’s background as a NaviGuide (0:52)
  • How NaviGuides help their communities (1:37)
  • Common signs that someone may be in need of elder care (3:53)
  • Subtle changes in behaviors or emotions (6:13)
  • How to speak to a loved one about needing care (8:55)
  • Stepping in with a loved one when they are potentially a danger to themselves (11:32)
  • Beginning conversations with loved ones around aging issues (13:01)


Abundant Aging is a podcast series presented by United Church Homes. These shows offer ideas, information, and inspiration on how to improve our lives as we grow older. To learn more and to subscribe to the show, visit


Michael Hughes 00:00
Hi everybody and welcome to Ask a NaviGuide, which is part of the abundant aging podcast series from United Church homes. I’m Mike your host, and on this show, we tackle subjects and aging and family caregiving, which can be stressful to work through. And we do this with tips and advice from the United Church Homes NaviGuide team. Our NaviGuides collectively have decades and decades of experience helping families work through these issues. And maybe these are issues that your listener carries for the first time. So we hope that what we share on the show will help you and will help with everyone everywhere age with abundance. Today, we’re lucky to have our NaviGuide Barbara with us who will help us understand family dynamics and build trust with people that may need help. So probably a subject that’s more art than science, but I can’t think of anybody better to speak to on this subject. So hello, Barbara, thanks for being here.

Barbara Rose 01:03
Hello, thank you Michael. I have been a NaviGuide service coordinator for nine years. I’m with United Church Homes. And I love my role. It’s very rewarding, challenging, and I love helping people. So I think that’s why I’ve done it for so many years.

Michael Hughes 01:26
That’s awesome. Before we get into the questions, Barbara, gotta read a statement. The opinions shared in this podcast are those of our amazing NaviGuides and our host, and are not meant to convey nor take the place of clinical legal or other professional advice. So Barbara, I know that you work in Ohio, and you have two different buildings with residents that you are in now.

Barbara Rose 01:53
That’s correct. I have 85 residents that I help with. And I also am a community member because being an avid guide, you network with your community. So I meet a lot of people in the community, I live in a very rural small village, and everybody knows me. So anybody that needs help with Medicare, guess who they’re knocking on my door, and I am always willing to help.

Michael Hughes 02:27
Because that’s the thing, you know, with being an avid guide, I mean, you’re helping people just day to day stuff that, you know, they’ve never faced before. But you know, you’ve been through plenty of times. And that’s, I guess you’ve helped people with hospital discharges. Trying to figure out, you know, how to coordinate what doctors are saying, connecting them with community services, food programs, all those sorts of things, right?

Barbara Rose 02:57
Correct. Yes, we help with discharging and provide services for people, basically, I guess the way you would explain it, we are to serve people, so that they can live independently as long as they can with a purpose and a good quality of life.

Michael Hughes 03:21
And, you know, people come to you. And I know, you know, it should be said the buildings, the people you manage are primarily people over the age of 65. Right? Correct. Yeah, got it. And from what I understand, you know, we, it’s very likely we’re all going to need more help as we get older, but I guess that helps. Come on, come on, suddenly, or it may come over time. And I’d like to talk about the signs. I guess. Why don’t we start this way? If somebody suddenly needs more help, what are some of the common situations that you’ve seen where suddenly a crisis and people’s needs change?

Barbara Rose 04:12
The number one that I have experienced is a fall. A fall can change the whole dynamics of home living like a broken hip, a broken leg, ankle, anything arm? I’ve had one resident that self forward. Brooke both of her wrist. Tried attorney. Yeah. And she’s doing fabulously. We had a maintenance install of the day. So she could Oh, while it so her toileting hygiene was taken care of. I mean, things that you don’t even think of, you know, another thing is if a spouse dies, and you know, maybe they were the primary caregiver So say, husband or wife dies, that can cause a major change in dynamics of living independently, a decline in cognition, memory issues, that is a huge one, when maybe they can’t remember to eat, or even wash a load of clothing, things like that maneuver the TV remote. My mother left her TV on all the time, because she knew she couldn’t, and didn’t know how to change channels. And the other saying, You don’t know how to use your telephone anymore, or collect your messages and things of that sort, driving a car, maybe they get lost. And maybe they can no longer balance their checkbook or remember a birthday, send a card, you know, maybe there’s someone that always sent everyone in the family a birthday card, they no longer do it.

Michael Hughes 06:05
You know, that’s interesting,

Barbara Rose 06:07
things of that sort. So that’s tiny things that you look for and know that someone needs some extra help.

Michael Hughes 06:18
Yeah, because you know, that as Barbara you know, there’s, I’ve always heard that, you know, it becoming finally So wow, now, I’m a family caregiver, right? It is things like mom’s in the hospital, and, you know, everyone’s looking at me or mom died, and dad has a Alzheimer’s, and now who’s going to take care of dad, or even that, you know, I come home at Thanksgiving or for the holidays, and I haven’t been seeing my mom in months, and now I can see a change, I can see that things are obviously different, right? So those are kind of sudden, but if you’re around someone all the time, like I think you just said a few like you’re around our residents all the time. And there must be those subtle things that you see then sort of said, okay, maybe I should keep an eye on this or keep an eye on that. Right?

Barbara Rose 07:13
Absolutely. And that’s when you are, I called family. And, you know, try to connect with the family. And that’s where your family dynamics are so important. And say, like, I have a resident right now, that is loaning money out to people. Like she’s like a millionaire. And, uh, so I called her brother and I said, you know, the people that she’s loaning the money to may or may not be able to pay her back. Maybe we need to step in and get a payee. Or maybe you can step up and take on this issue. So,

Michael Hughes 08:01
you So you mentioned, you know, changes in financial behavior. I thought the birthday card thing was great. I mean, I think everyone should know that, you know, your loved one is giving you a birthday card every year, and then one year doesn’t come yet. That’s a thing you should check in on, you know, the thing about forgetting to cook or use a phone? I guess just another? I don’t know, is it like, it says something about their demeanor, or the way that they walk or carry themselves or,

Barbara Rose 08:28
well, usually, that physical things unless they’ve fallen, and have that reported it or something like that has happened? Oh, I’m all right, and then come to find out they’ve fractured their foot or something like that. But what I also notice is, maybe they’re more depressed, because they know something’s not quite right, physically or mentally. They are more emotional, cry more, and don’t really know what they’re crying about.

Michael Hughes 09:04
So you’re in a situation where, I mean, you think about people that you see everyday and you suspect that something’s going on where maybe they can use some support or help. And I think that’s what you know, people see with their loved ones all the time that you know, we want to open up a conversation about, are you okay, do you need help, but they may not know where to start. So how do you typically open up a conversation like this?

Barbara Rose 09:33
Well, just as I said earlier, like if I see bouts of depression or bouts of crying, the ringing of the hangs anxiety, touching of the face all the time, they’re more anxious than they normally are, and they’re anxious because they’re worried they’re worried about their mental state, and they don’t know how to can say it and And that’s when I would suggest the family to dose, go with their loved one to the doctor and get a complete analysis of their condition and then go from there. And the doctor will suggest a path, and then the Navigate guide can make that path happen.

Michael Hughes 10:26
Yeah. And you generally feel the people are open to a conversation like this. I mean, if they’re worrying about it. I mean, I guess everyone’s different. Right. But, you know, but generally, if somebody’s worried about something, they want to talk about it, perhaps I don’t know. But is that true? Or is that just me?

Barbara Rose 10:46
No, I think that it’s just like anything else if you get a fact you can deal with? And but the unknown is concerning. It’s worrisome. I know something’s not right. Okay, let’s go to the doctor and figure this out, we’ll get the facts, and then we’ll know how to deal with it.

Michael Hughes 11:09
And then your mind is more still challenging, but at least you have some structure around. It’s not a mystery anymore.

Barbara Rose 11:17
Exactly. Exactly. And I think with that, the diagnosis, both the family and the loved one can deal with it. And like I say, get a care plan together, get a schedule together and make life as wonderful as you can.

Michael Hughes 11:40
You know, things like, you know, things like dementia and Alzheimer’s and all that it is, it can be particularly difficult because behavior, and all the anxiety, the person that has the cognition, worry, it’s all there. And if somebody is kind of doing things that you think are troublesome, let’s talk about driving, you know, I mean, what would you say, your loved one, you know, they shouldn’t drive, you just hide the car keys, or

Barbara Rose 12:17
The way I have handled that is, I always say to the family, let the doctor be the bad guy. Let the doctor say, Hey, I just wouldn’t advise you to drive right? Now I’m afraid to hurt myself or someone else. Because that doctor doesn’t have to go home with the loved one and deal with the emotions. And, uh, you know, they may, they may be so upset that they don’t even want to be around you. If you say that, you know, and you’re the one that has to go there tomorrow morning and help take care of them. So I always suggest letting the doctor do that. And then you can say, well, you know, that’s what the doctor said. So you don’t want anything to happen to Yeah.

Michael Hughes 13:08
And just one more question for this episode. And then, well, we have a series of things going on. So we’re gonna move on to our next one. But for you the listener, but in your day to day of work, you know, you see people, residents all the time, and what are some of the just the general techniques you use just to say, Hey, how are you doing checking in? Or is that just something that comes naturally to you? Or do I? Are there any arrow tricks you use? I mean, I believe it to be a trick. I mean, you’re building relationships with people, right? But I guess maybe if somebody that you haven’t seen in a while, you know, how do you kind of get that conversation going and or, say how they’re doing?

Barbara Rose 13:55
Well, I caught a general check in. And in my buildings, I kind of nicknamed myself as the head bugger. Because I’ll just call somebody up and say, Hey, I haven’t seen you around how you don’t want to. And this was really promoted during COVID. You know, because I checked on every single resident every day I was there. And so it’s, it’s a continuation of that. And I’ve I, I have, I guess I just feel a responsibility to my people, that my residents that if there is something they need, I need to be aware of it so I can help them through it. Be it just scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or, Hey, I’m feeling lousy. Well, are you eating to make sure they have food? You know, when’s the last time you talk to your family and things like that? You know, I’m there. Ever had a problem? Problem stepping up and asking, I feel that it’s my role. It’s my duty to make sure that my residents are well taken care of.

Michael Hughes 15:11
And then just a shocker here. So you’re telling me that just calling somebody up once in a while or knocking on the door and saying, Hey, how are you doing? I haven’t seen you for a while. What’s up with you? That work?

Barbara Rose 15:25
Yes, sir. For me, it does for me, because they know how I am. And they know it’s out of concern and love. They absolutely know that I’m not there. I’m not there to find out how bingo went last night. Or if you know, if they’re having difficulty with another IAM, they’re concerned about them. And I think that most people take that on as a positive that they like it when someone’s concerned about their health and well being.

Michael Hughes 16:00
Well, look, this is a great place to leave it. Barbara, thank you so much. And for our listeners, this is asking to have a guide, part of the abundant aging podcast series brought to you by United Church homes. Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this week’s show, please like, share and subscribe to our YouTube channel which is United Church homes. And also find all of our podcasts on abundant aging There you can actually, there’s a comment for there so you can let us know what you thought of the episode. If there’s other episodes you’d like to see any tips you’d like to share, please send them over. And for more information about United Church Holmes’s navigate program, please visit And for more information within the United Church Homes, Memory Care program, Comfort Matters, and United Church Homes in general visit And if you are listening to this, let’s say in July or August 2023 forward hopefully we will have our Resource Center, set up so please check that out. Until then, we’ll see you next time!