Long-distance Caregiving: What to look for when visiting your loved-one

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More: Caregivers can make a big impact, even from afar

Visiting your loved-one is a good opportunity to look for signs that more help is needed or that their health status may have changed. Some of the things on this list might seem minor on their own, but when you notice that two, three or four of these issues have come up, that’s a good sign you might need to call in reinforcements.

  • Unsteadiness on their feet: look for tripping hazards such as loose or uneven steps, shaky or missing handrails, throw rugs or electrical cords. Ask if they have fallen recently and if you notice bruises, ask about them.
  • If your relative is still driving, take a ride with them and observe how well they drive and how confident they are in heavy traffic, making left turns or driving at night.
  • Change in housekeeping habits: previously clean and tidy house is cluttered or dirty
  • Unpaid bills or financial problems
  • No food in the fridge or cupboards
  • Medication doses or doctor’s appointments missed
  • Problems with personal appearance or hygiene
  • Bathroom safety – needing grab bars in the bathtub and near the toilet
  • Isolation, loneliness and possible depression
  • Deterioration of eyesight and/or hearing
  • Memory loss that is serious enough to compromise safety

If you think you need help, contact the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) that serves your loved-one’s community. The AAA can offer free advice and connect you to resources that could improve your loved-ones quality of life. Find your AAA at www.eldercare.gov.