Providing proper care for the elderly is an ever-growing topic. Caregiving can be challenging, but caregiving at a distance poses additional challenges. Many times, caregivers are only able to visit with elderly family members during the holiday season, so it is important to take note of every detail during these visits, to ensure elderly family members are receiving appropriate care. Here are a few tips for visits with elderly family members.
Observe the conditions they are living in. Is the home or room clean and safe? Are they able to keep up with whatever chores are necessary to keep the living space in order? Take note of any missing items and ask about anyone who may be helping them to care for their living space.
Look for any signs of abuse
Abuse can cover a wide range of things, including physical, emotional, and financial abuse, and/or neglect. Look for bruises, cuts, and other marks on a loved ones face and body. Also take note of anyone who may be spending a lot of time with the elderly family member and observe body language to see if there are any signs of stress, anxiety or fear, which could be an indication of some type of abuse.
Signs of bigger health concerns
Extreme changes in weight, overall hygiene, loss of balance or strength, and dramatically increased forgetfulness are a few things to look for as signs of bigger health issues. These are all things that could be debilitating and prevent them from properly caring for themselves. Ask questions to learn more about their diet, how meals are prepared, and any necessary medical aids, such as hearing aids and eyeglasses. Also, check expiration dates on medication and ensure they are taking the appropriate and necessary medications.
Ensure bills are being paid. Review statements to ensure there are not unauthorized charges or withdrawals and that there have not been any changes to the signees on any bank accounts.
Although it is extremely important to ensure your loved one is cared for properly and there is a lot of involved, you do not want to overwhelm or stress your elderly family member with a barrage of questions and information. Help your elderly family members establish a local and trusted support system, such as neighbors and friends that can be called upon, if needed. Even after your visit, stay in touch and remain vigilant.