By: Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
It is easy for most people to notice when a loved
one is slipping, such as in their declining care in
appearance, personal hygiene, home organization,
etc. For the long-distance caregiver, these little
hints suggesting a need for assistance are harder to
Many times a visit can be emotionally charged and
consist only of spending the limited, quality time
together. It is essential, however, for a
long-distance caregiver to be practical and take
care of the caregiving “business” while visiting, to
establish support for after they’re gone. In this
article, learn how to make the most of visits, see
the warning signs, and rely on “substitute” eyes and
ears while away from an aging loved one.
MAKING VISITS COUNT
While visiting a loved one, caregivers should arrive
prepared to take care of bills, and other standard
tasks. In addition, they must take time to meet with
their loved one’s health providers, such as
physicians, specialists, etc. Lawyers, financial
professionals are also good resources for family
members. They may have noticed irrational
requests/behaviors from their client which can be
relayed to the caregiver.
Caregivers should not forget to have talks with
local friends and family who see their loved one on
a regular basis. All such conversations are critical
to establishing any changes in a person’s behavior.
These people are on the front line and the best
resources for a long-distance caregiver.
While relying on others is important, seeing
changes firsthand will confirm and validate for a
caregiver if a loved one is in need of more
assistance. The old saying is “absence makes the
heart grow fonder” and while that is usually true,
for long-distance caregivers, absence can also make
the eyes and ears grow keener. Subtle changes are
usually more pronounced when a person is not with
the other on a daily basis.
THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION OFFERS THIS
LIST OF BEHAVIORS TO WATCH FOR DURING A VISIT:
Is there food in the refrigerator? Is it spoiled?
Is the person eating regular meals?
What is the condition of the inside and outside
of the home? Has it changed?
Are the bills paid? Are there piles of unopened
Do friends and relatives visit regularly?
What is the person’s appearance like? Is the
person bathing and grooming?
Is the person still able to drive safely?