Being a long distance caregiver is challenging. If you live far away from your relative and don’t get a chance to visit often being on the lookout for important signifiers allows you to anticipate issues and act proactively.
While every case has its own set of variables, here are a few important factors to pay attention to.
• Does your loved one require help with chores or housekeeping, personal care, shopping and meal preparation, money management, transportation, medical checkups, or medications?
• Are they isolated, or do they live with others? If living with another, are they dependent on that person for care? Is that person an appropriate caregiver?
During your visit, keep an eye out for warning signs of self-neglect or abuse or neglect by others.
If, before you make your trip, you suspect that your loved one needs extra assistance, plan a longer stay so that you can visit local aging services organizations during regular work hours. Allow enough time during your visit to accomplish necessary tasks.
Changes in physical and cognitive abilities that may occur with age can be difficult to detect—for older adults and their family members, friends, and caregivers. MyElder has compiled this list of 10 warning signs. Any one of the following behaviors may indicate the need to take action. It is also important to inform the older adult’s physician of these changes.
1. Changing eating habits, resulting in weight loss, appetite loss, or missed meals
2. Neglecting personal hygiene, including clothing, body odor, oral health, nails, and skin
3. Neglecting the home, with a noticeable change in tidiness and/or sanitation
4. Exhibiting inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at unusual hours
5. Changing relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concern
6. Showing physical injuries, such as burns, which may have resulted from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or medication
7. Decreasing or stopping participation in activities that were once enjoyable, such as a bridge or book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services
8. Exhibiting forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, newspaper piles, unfilled prescriptions, or missed appointments
9. Mishandling finances, such as not paying bills or paying them more than once and losing or hiding money
10. Making unusual purchases, such as more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements
By Ruthayn Kronenberg and Susie Cabanas,
advocates/owners, MyElder Westchester
Ruthayn Kronenberg and Susie Cabanas are the Advocates/Owners of MyElder Westchester. MyElder are experts in assisted living and nursing home placement, hospital and nursing home crisis intervention, elder care monitoring, elder home care advisory, long term care planning, long distance caregiving, and assisted living and nursing home eviction prevention. Please visit Myelder.com or call (914)292-0444.