Caregiving for a Family Member or Friend


Gauging the need for your loved ones is always tricky. Does mom or dad need to stop driving? Are they having trouble keeping up with their prescriptions? Without being with your family members and friends every day it’s hard to know how they are really doing. It’s also hard for people to ask for help or admit that they need assistance.

If you are uncertain if your loved one is having trouble ask them and get feedback from those around them.

Get Feedback From Friends and Neighbors

If someone is struggling the first people who might notice is their friends and neighbors who are used to seeing them regularly. Check-in with them and make sure you know how your loved one is truly doing. What to Look For:

Home – When you go over to visit, is your loved one’s home like you remember it? A dirty home is a sign that they may be struggling to keep up with everyday tasks.

Car – Are they still able to drive safely? Check your loved one’s vehicle for new scratches and dents which indicate that they may not be as safe a driver as they used to be. If you hear about accidents, tickets, or are otherwise concerned, it may be time to talk with them about transitioning out of the driver’s seat.

Memory– Signs of forgetfulness include missed appointments, late and unpaid bills, and repeat purchases of the same item. Scorched pots could mean that they’ve been forgetting things on the stove.

Mobility– Are your loved ones able to get around their home? Can they climb the stairs and step into the bathtub without slipping? Pay attention to bruises since these may be the result of a fall.

Health– If aging loved ones let their healthcare needs go unmet, this could create dangerous medical situations. Make sure your family members are able to make it to all of their appointments, can give themselves insulin shots, change bandages, and take medications as prescribed, if needed. It’s time to step in if you see evidence that these aren’t happening.

Social circle– Do they still talk with friends or set-up zoom calls to check-in? Companionship and support systems are important parts of health.

Legal and Financial Topics

It can make sense to start lining up legal and financial resources before they’re ever needed. That can include thinking about a plan for any foreseeable emergencies, designating a health care proxy, and establishing a power of attorney.