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Your Four-Step Holiday Caregiving Checklist

Posted By Sally Abrahms On November 21, 2012 @ 12:49 pm In Take Care | Comments Disabled

[1]If Sherlock Holmes had been a long-distance family caregiver [2] visiting his parents over Thanksgiving, he would have been a busy guy. He wouldn’t have missed a great opportunity to assess how an older family member or friend was faring so he could make changes if needed. And neither should you.

It doesn’t take a pro to sleuth out the situation. Here are easy pointers on what you need to know:

1. Their Health

  •  What do you notice? Do they remember to take their medications? Consider a “smart” pill box [3] that reminds them to take their pills and reminds them again if they forget.  Do they need a Medic Alert-like device (PERS) [4] or other technology [5]?
  • Are their prescriptions up to date?
  • Do you know the names and dosages of their meds in case you ever need to contact their doctor? How about how to reach their specialists?
  • Do they need help with anything medical-related? Filling out insurance claims, dealing with doctors (receptionists, scheduling appointments)?

2. Their House

  •  Does their house work for them? Can they climb the stairs? Do they need to think about a chair lift, moving to the first floor, or moving places altogether? Can they get into their shower easily?
  • If they have a study on the first floor with a bathroom, could it be converted into a bedroom?
  • Should you  make modifications? Change cabinet knobs, move shelves, install grab bars or handrails, buy an adjustable toilet seat, or increase lighting? Certified aging in place specialists (CAPS) [6]  help older adults make safe and user-friendly adjustments.
  • Is their home safe? Are  rugs loose, the stairs cleared, would better lighting reduce the risk of fall?  AARP also has a great checklist [7].

3. Their Mobility

  •  Are they having trouble generally getting around? How does their car look – any dents? Take a ride in the passenger seat. How’s their driving? Test out an intersection, left turns, street signals, and speed.
  • Do you need to have The Driving Talk [8]?
  • Before you have that talk, do some research in your community. What transportation resources [9] are available when they stop driving? Your Area Agencies on Aging (AAA [10]) can steer you to local alternative ways to get around.

4. Their Finances

  •  Is their mail piling up with unpaid bills? Do you see late notices? It may be time for online banking.
  • Do you know where all their financial information [11] is?

Other questions or observations that might help a family caregiver? The holidays are a great time to have a heart-to-heart, or at least begin important, albeit difficult, conversations.

Follow Sally Abrahms at www.sallyabrahms [12] and on Twitter [13].

Photo by Dragon Sme [14] courtesy of Creative Commons [15]

Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/11/21/sally-abrahms-holiday-caregiving-checklist/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/5084691956_879d635146_m.jpg

[2] long-distance family caregiver: http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/

[3] pill box: http://www.ageinplacetech.com/category/category-tags/medication-management

[4] (PERS): http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/whocares/emergency.shtm

[5] technology: http://blog.aarp.org/2012/04/26/sally-abrahms-caregiving-technology-must-haves/

[6] Certified aging in place specialists (CAPS): http://www.nahb.org/generic.aspx?genericContentID=8398

[7] checklist: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-07-2011/make-your-home-a-safe-home.html

[8] The Driving Talk: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/transportation/we_need_to_talk/

[9] resources: http://www.itnamerica.org

[10] AAA: http://www.n4a.org

[11] financial information: http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnwin1011/Win1011BW.pdf

[12] www.sallyabrahms: http://www.sallyabrahms.com/

[13] Twitter: https://twitter.com/sallyabrahms

[14] Dragon Sme: http://www.flickr.com/people/smes_of_steaks/

[15] Creative Commons: http://blog.aarp.orgwww.CreativeCommons.org

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