When you and your senior live a little farther apart, visits may be the only time you get a firsthand look at how life is going for her. But you don’t want to spend the entire visit picking apart her life. You can still get the information you need.
It’s Not About Making Her Uncomfortable
It’s really easy to accidentally make your senior uncomfortable with a visit if you place a lot of emphasis on figuring out what’s wrong or not working right. The goal here isn’t to put your senior under a microscope. This is primarily a visit with someone you love. Make sure that’s where you’re placing the bulk of your energy.
But You Can Cover a Lot of Ground
You can accomplish a lot more in a simple visit, even a short one, than you might think possible, however. You can see what your senior’s daily life is like and how she interacts with the world around her. You can spot areas in which she might need a little bit more help from you or from home care providers, which allows you to start solving some of those concerns before they become major ones.
Pay Attention and Maybe Take Some Notes
You probably can’t address everything in one visit. What you can do is jot down some notes about what you’re noticing and pay close attention. Ask your senior questions, but don’t do so in a way that is likely to cause her to feel defensive. If it’s not a good time for you to get more information, focus more on simply learning as much as you can about her current situation and what she appears to need.
Talk about Anything You Find Concerning
When the time is right, talk to your senior openly and lovingly about whatever you found concerning. Try to focus on solutions rather than problems. Ask your senior what she needs and what she wants. Some of her goals might be surprising to you, especially if you’ve never had these talks before. Aging in place is a common goal for older adults, for instance, but if you and your senior have never talked about it, you might not know how to help her.
Make the most out of visits to your senior, no matter how often you’re able to visit her. Even infrequent visits can help you to learn a lot about what your elderly family member needs and how you can best assist her.