Vail Daily column: Make the most of visits with elderly loved ones
These days, it’s not uncommon for aging parents and adult children to be separated from one another not only by many miles, but many states and, sometimes, countries. When aging starts to take a toll on our parents’ well-being, this can be a problem.
Regardless of the distance between our aging loved ones and where we live, very few of us can put our lives and families on hold, uproot our lives or the lives of our loved ones and either move closer to our loved ones or have them move closer or even into our homes. That means it’s important to make the most of visits when they happen.
Visits can make a big difference when elderly loved ones and adult children are separated by long distances. Whether you are using that time to take care of tough housekeeping jobs, checking up on their well-being or simply spending time to be with them, there is a lot you can do to maximize your visit and time.
If you’re starting to worry about an aging loved one’s well-being and want to make the most out of the time you spend together, then here are some tips for what you can accomplish on your next visit.
Around the home
As we grow older, often it becomes more difficult to accomplish important tasks around the home. Take a look around the house at your next visit and make note of items that may need repair. Here are a few common items to look for:
• Do light bulbs need replacing?
• Smoke alarms and carbon dioxide detectors — do they have fresh batteries?
• Would bathroom grab bars be helpful?
• Look for floor hazards such as area rugs with rolled-up edges and extension cords that may cause someone to trip.
Some other things you may want to take note of while visiting include:
• Are bills organized and paid on time?
• Are they receiving many solicitations or receiving many requests to make donations? Financial crimes and exploitation of the elderly occur too frequently.
• Ask if they have recently consulted their medical provider(s) about the medications they take. Too often people take medications they may no longer need, dosages need reviewing or they may not be adhering to the suggested regimen.
don’t lose sight
Of course, your loved ones may not always tell you when they need help or tasks performed. Sometimes, they might be embarrassed to ask for help. Other times, they may not realize that work needs to be done. Because of this, it can be helpful to do a housekeeping check of their house early in your visit. Use this opportunity to check for signs of wear or damage, inspect areas that require seasonal maintenance, and look for small jobs that need to done about the home.
While it is only natural to worry about those we care about, it’s important not to lose sight of what makes visits with our loved ones so special. If you live far enough away from your loved ones that you can only see them once a month (or even less frequently), then the time you spend together will be even more valuable. So make sure you set aside quality time every visit, whether sharing a home-cooked meal, playing a game of cards or simply taking the time to have the kinds of conversations you don’t have on the phone.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. Contact him at 970-328-5526 or visit http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns.