Are your parents okay? How are they doing? If I were writing this blog last year, I would have given you this checklist to use when checking in with your parents:
- Check the car for dents and scratches
- Open the refrigerator and check if food is fresh and in-date
- The sniff test–are there any bathroom or mildew odors?
- Has the mail piled up?
- Are there any signs of poor hygiene?
But how can you know that Mom and Dad are okay when you can’t visit? What can you tell over the phone or a Zoom call?
Technology can be useful to check on parents and gives you alternate ways to communicate
Do your parents answer the phone? Do they call back when you leave a voicemail? Establish a calling routine (weekly, daily, every other day, etc.).These do not have to be long calls, but it is important to check in and establish a pattern of regular communication with your elderly parents.
If your parent uses Zoom–pay attention to their background, appearance and hygiene, and how they are dressed–do you notice anything unusual? Are your parents wearing hats and gloves while inside or are they wrapped in blankets? Is there clutter everywhere? If you notice these things, you may need to call a neighbor or even the local police to arrange a wellbeing visit if you are concerned.
Pay attention to inclement weather conditions. You may need to arrange to have your parents’ driveway shoveled, to hire a dog-walker, or to have groceries delivered. An electrician can check their generator before the next snowstorm.