June 11, 2020
When you and your senior don’t live in the same town or even the same state, it’s tough to get an accurate picture of what she really needs in the way of support. You’re going to have to talk to each other about what she’s experiencing.
Certain chores are likely becoming more difficult for your elderly family member than even she might realize at the moment. Taking care of the yard may have been something she used to enjoy, but now it might be more than she can handle. Laundry is another chore that starts to take longer and longer to do. Other household chores may make the list, too.
Beyond chores, there are also safety considerations at home for your senior. Are there home repairs that need to be made? It might be a good idea to have an independent safety inspection performed in your senior’s home. The inspector can find specific safety concerns that need to be addressed.
Talk to your senior about driving, especially if you’ve both been avoiding the topic. Is she afraid to drive? Is driving becoming more difficult? She may be avoiding going out or running errands simply because driving has become a “hassle” for her. Find out what her feelings are right now about driving and discuss whether other options would be a better fit.
Your senior’s social life is also more important than either of you might realize. If she’s not getting out and about as much as she used to, that could be a sign that she’s more isolated than she should be. Isolation can be dangerous for older adults because it can lead to depression. Ask her how her friends are doing and when she last spent time with them.
As you’re talking with your elderly family member about what’s going on, make sure you’re suggesting solutions. One solution that can address many of these issues is to bring in senior care providers. Senior care offers an opportunity for your elderly family member to get help with routine tasks, meal preparation, transportation and so much more.
You can still be effective as a long-distance caregiver, but you need to know what’s going on. Work with your senior to keep the lines of communication as open as possible so that you have the information you need.