How will you know that the person is getting what he or she needs?
These tips can help.
Make regular scheduled visits.
- Depending on the level of independence, those visits could be occasional of frequent. Use your visits to assess the person’s needs.
- You and other relatives or friends may be able to take turns visiting so that the person is checked on a regularly.
- If you cannot visit often, consider having someone who lives near the person take responsibility for care.
Plan regular check in times.
- Regular phone calls can be a good way to check in. If the person has a hearing problem (and may not hear the phone ring), plan a specific time to call so h e or she will know to answer. Or arrange for special phone equipment for the hearing impaired.
- When you talk, listen for any changes in the way he or she speaks or engages with you.
- For some people, email or letters are also good ways to check in.
When you visit.
- Assess the person’s ability to care for him or herself.
Check in about:
» Meals and self care.
» Shopping, errands and household chores.
» Medications and doctor’s appointments
» Money management and paying bills.
» Driving and transportation.
» Social activities.
» Mental or emotional health.
Enlist the support of local friends.
- Consider asking a friend, relative or neighbor to look in on the person daily or weekly.
- Find people who live near your relative – friends, neighbors or local relatives – that can be called in an emergency. Knowing that someone is nearby can help ease your concern.
- Consider paying the friend or relative for his or her time.
Arrange for help when needed.
- Ask the person what kind of care he or she needs or will accept. Be respectful of the person’s lifestyle and independence.
- Ask health care providers, neighbors and friends what type of care they think the person needs too. They are closer and may see things that you won’t notice during short visits.
- Help the person arrange care. The per son may not be able to do it alone.
Get local information
- Order a local phone book. Get the names and numbers of local services. Even if you do not need to use them now, you might later on.
- Keep a notebook with the names and phone numbers of doctors, land lord, power company and others that provide services for your loved one.
- Photocopy social security, Medicare and insurance cards, and Durable Power of Attorney documents. Then you will have the information ready if needed.
Connect with community resources .
- Meet with doctors and other care providers when you visit. Ask them to report any changes in your loved one’s health.
- Contact local social services to see if your loved one is eligible for assistance.
- Contact organizations, clubs and religious communitie s that your loved one participates in. Find out if they have support systems you can utilize.
- Contact local volunteer programs. See if they can provide a volunteer to visit regularly.
- Consider registering your relative for a personal medical emergency aler t system, such as an emergency button worn around the neck or on the wrist.
Help the person accept care.
- Explain that you want to help them stay healthier, more comfortable or independent.
- Acknowledge and address any concerns over accepting care.
- Treat the person with respect. Your loved one is ultimately in charge of care unless he or she is unable to make decisions.
Consider a care manager.
- Care managers, also called case managers, are social workers or nurses who help arrange care for older or disabled p eople. Care managers can be hired privately. Or if your loved one has low or moderate income, local county social services may provide a case manager or social worker to help arrange services.
When looking for a private care manager, ask:
» What services do you offer?
» What are your professional credentials? Are you licensed?
» How long have you been providing these services?
» What are your fees? (This service may not be covered by insurance.)
» Can you provide references?
» Are you available for emergencies?
Balancing care giving with other family and work obligations can be overwhelming at times. Getting help is essential. So is taking care of yourself.
To find information about support groups and other services in your area , consult your local phone book. Or call the Eldercare Locator at 1 – 800 – 677 – 11 16, or visit their website at Eldercare
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