posted 11/6/2018 in
A Reminder During National Family Caregiver Month About What to Look for While Visiting Loved Ones
November is National Family Caregiver Month, a time to recognize and honor caregivers. With the holidays fast approaching, Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging is reminding long distance caregivers about what to look for when they visit their loved ones.
Many of us live far away from our families. According to a study conducted by the National Alliance of Caregiving in collaboration with AARP, 15 percent of the estimated 34 million Americans who provide care to older family members live an hour or more away from their care recipient. If you have relied on regular telephone conversations or information you receive from a closer living relative to gauge their wellbeing, the upcoming holiday visit may reveal a completely different picture of your loved one’s daily life.
Things to notice during your visit:
- Is your family member clean and properly dressed?
- Have they experienced any significant change in weight (up or down)?
- How is their balance? Are they walking well? If the home has stairs, can they navigate the stairs safely?
- Observe closely to determine if your family member has experienced changes to their hearing, sight, or speech.
- How is their energy level?
- How is their short term memory?
- Can they perform daily tasks?
- Do they ask the same questions over and over?
- When did they last visit the doctor?
- Take a careful look at your family member’s environment. Is the home neat, clean, and well maintained? Are there obvious hazards in the house that need to be fixed such as loose throw rugs, excessive clutter, or low lighting? Should grab bars be installed in the bathroom?
- How safe is the neighborhood?
- Are services such as grocery stores, banks, and medical offices easy to access?
- If the person drives, take a ride with them during the day and at night. How is their driving? Do they see and respond appropriately to changes in traffic, road hazards, and pedestrians?
- What is your family member’s average day like? Do they have opportunities to socialize?
- If your loved one is caring for another family member, are they getting respite from care giving and receiving emotional support?
The holidays are a wonderful time of year to reconnect with our aging loved ones. Give them the gift of your time and care by helping them address problems that have crept up during the year. If your observations lead to concerns, call LifeLong Links toll-free at 1-866-468-7887. Our experts on aging have a reputation for trusted, unmatched knowledge about resources for older individuals and caregivers to help keep them in their homes as they age.