You could start by talking with your friend and being honest about your concerns. Don’t pressure her; just ask how she’s doing. Stay in touch, be observant, and if you become truly alarmed for her safety or well-being, by all means contact a family member.

If you decide to take that step, be sure the information you have is something you’ve personally observed, versus something you’ve heard from someone else. In the first case, you are a first-person witness. In the second, you are a gossip. Share only what you’ve observed.

When bringing your concerns to a family member, try to be both kind and factual. Prepare the person for the news by demonstrating how challenging it can be to receive it. You might say, “I just visited with your mom and noticed some things that worry me. Do you want me to share this with you?”

The person may not be prepared in that moment to talk about it, but might later. Offer assurances: “I want you to know that I just want to help. It must be hard when you can’t always be there to see for yourself.”

If there’s no family or they seem unable or unwilling to address the issues, call CountryHouse for information about available resources in the area. You don’t want to wait for a crisis to occur.

Finally, continue to be her friend. Even though it’s heartbreaking, don’t let your anxiety keep you away.

Have a question about Alzheimer’s or dementia care? Call Nicole at (308) 381-1988 or send an email to