Caring for a loved one is a big responsibility that can become even more difficult if you don’t live close to your loved one, which is why many families decide to hire a caregiver. If you’re one of these families, make sure you know which questions to ask caregivers if you live far from your loved one so you can ensure their safety and well-being.
Your First Step
Before you hire a caregiver, it’s important that you consider which qualities you would like to see in your loved one’s caregiver. If you live far from your loved one, good communication skills should be high on your list! After all, a caregiver is the best way for you to learn of any change in your loved one’s behavior, so make sure you choose a caregiver who is capable of clearly communicating with both you and your loved one.
Questions to ask Caregivers
It may be difficult for you to be with your loved one every day, but you can still be involved by knowing which questions to ask if caregivers if you live far from your loved one, like the questions below:
- Have there been any changes in my loved one’s behavior or condition? Especially if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, changes in behavior are quite common.
- Is my loved one showing signs of self-neglect? A caregiver should always report any signs of self-neglect – even if they’re just suspicions. Signs of self-neglect are poor hygiene, malnutrition, dehydration, refusing medications, hoarding and even unpaid bills.
- Is my loved one taking his/her medications? Does the caregiver know for sure that your loved one is taking their medications and managing them well? If necessary, ask the caregiver to help administer your loved one’s medications properly.
- When’s the last time my loved one saw his/her doctor and how did the appointment go? If possible, attend doctor appointments with your loved one so you’re all up-to-date on their health, but if you are unable to, most caregivers will provide transportation to these appointments. Just remember to ask for details on what was said during the appointment!
- Is there a plan in place should an emergency affect my loved one? There should be a detailed plan addressing emergencies that may affect your loved one. Make sure the caregiver has a list of your loved one’s doctors, pharmacies and emergency contacts handy at all times.
- Has my loved one been socially active? This may seem like an unimportant question to ask, especially when compared to the other questions outlined above, but staying socially active is essential for your loved one’s health. Many community centers provide activities and programs specifically for seniors, so work with the caregiver to determine any social activities your loved one may enjoy with others.
Caregiving from a Distance
In addition to asking the questions outlined above, below are some other tips if you’re a long-distance caregiver:
- Maintain and organize all up-to-date records (insurance, financial, medical and legal documents, etc.).
- Create a contact list including your loved one’s friends, neighbors, doctors and pharmacies.
- Have your loved one give you or another close and trustworthy relative legal authority to act on your loved one’s behalf should anything happen.
Living far from your loved one is certainly not easy, but with the right caregiver and precautionary steps, you can ensure that your loved one receives what they deserve: the best care and support possible.