If you don’t live near your senior, visits may be the only time that you’re able to see her and how she’s living now. You can use these visits to help you determine if and when she might need more help.
Visits Can Serve Dual Purposes.
The biggest reason for you to visit your elderly family member is to simply spend time with her. That’s always the primary reason for any visit, of course. But these visits can give you a chance to watch out for changes to your aging family member’s situation so that you can offer help if she needs it. She may only need a small amount of help now, but that can change quickly.
Take Some Notes.
You might believe that you’ll remember everything that you noticed during this trip. But the human memory is a funny thing. There are always details that you won’t remember or that you don’t recognize as important until much later. So it’s definitely a good idea to take some notes on what you notice. They don’t have to be extremely detailed. Just write down anything you noticed and what happened during your visit. It might not seem important now, but it could be later.
There’s No Need to Be too Obvious.
You don’t want your aging adult to feel as if you’re interrogating her or surveilling her. This isn’t about peeping into every drawer or closet. Also, if your senior feels as if you’re there to make changes in her life without her consent, she’s more likely to become defensive and she may even shut you out. The goal is to be a witness to what is happening naturally.
Use What You Learn to Open a Dialogue.
You might notice that your senior is having a tough time getting around or keeping up with household tasks. Now might be the perfect time to talk about hiring elderly care providers to take over some of those tasks for her. This isn’t about you making any unilateral decisions, either. For now it’s a dialogue and working toward a solution to something you’re seeing. Your aging family member may not be ready to make those changes, so be prepared for that eventuality.
Even if you don’t need to do anything just yet, making note of what is happening with your senior now gives you a baseline. When you start to pay attention, you can be more aware of changes as they happen rather than feeling as if changes snuck up on you or your senior.