As long-distance caregivers visit the friend or family member whose care they manage over upcoming holidays, such as Easter and Passover, this can be an opportunity to see any changes that need to be addressed in person. While video calls and regular check-ins can help, spending time together in person and seeing the home environment of the loved one can provide important insights.

We touched on serious warning signs in How to Start the Home Health Care Conversation in Your Family. But for those who visited over Thanksgiving or the December holidays and didn’t see extreme changes – but had an overall sense something was off – are there other indicators to look for on this visit?

While the home may seem tidy, is it clear if the heat or air conditioning isn’t being used as usual? What may seem like an overly frugal choice could be a sign of forgetfulness. While food may be purchased and prepared, weight loss could be a sign of a medical condition that needs to be addressed. Signs of dehydration can be more subtle, but important indicators of other issues as well.

While the home office may seem to still be in order without telltale signs of unopened mail or past due bills, there may be a paper trail of issues unfolding. Not only are unpaid bills a concern, but bookkeeping errors, such as paying the same bill twice, can be signals to watch out for. Unusual purchases or changes in spending habits can also be a warning sign.

Not keeping up with purchasing medical supplies, filling prescriptions, or keeping the house stocked with groceries and toiletries can be a clear sign that something is not right. So too can new purchases. A thrifty person who is suddenly buying products from telemarketers, home shopping networks or even in-store items that they wouldn’t need or use could be an indicator that they’re not making purchase decisions through the same discerning lens they once used.

As conditions change, sadly, some people become susceptible to those who would take advantage. Be on the lookout for bills for services that haven’t been rendered, products you don’t see in the home, or services and supplies not issued by the patient’s doctor. Examine insurance claims and financial documents and be prepared for the beginning of an open and respectful (but honest) conversation.

Report any signs of fraud on insurance claims, statements of benefits, or other bills. Check in with the family accountant.

If you’ve identified issues and believe it is time to enlist more help, be sure to work with a team that can bring you peace of mind. Learn about the different options in care such as gray-market vs. licensed home health care, and the possibility to remain at home vs. alternate choices such as a nursing home or assisted living.

Still wondering if it’s time for home health care? Take our quick assessment quiz to learn more! To speak with us now about the Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. difference, please call 1-866-648-5119.