According to a study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, eleven percent of family caregivers live an hour or more away from their aging loved one. In addition to having the same concerns and pressures that local family caregivers face, caregivers who provide long-distance care spend approximately $12,000 per year caring for a family member, which is nearly twice that of people caring for a loved one who lives close by.
How can you best manage a senior’s care when you live too far away to be there? Here are five tips to help you manage your loved one’s care long-distance.
1. Focus on what you can do to help, not what you can’t.
No matter how far away they may be, there are things you can do to help your aging loved one from a distance. Take advantage of your strengths and help by doing the things you do best.
For example, if you’re good with money, help them manage their finances. Have them add you to their bank and investment accounts so you can help manage their finances online by making sure all of their bills are getting paid and that they’re not a victim of elder financial abuse.
If organization is a strength of yours, coordinate medical care, organize important documents like medical records and legal documents, and find local resources for needs they may have, such as transportation or meal delivery.
2. Plan visits.
Your loved one needs to see you from time to time as much as you need to see them. If they have a primary caregiver, coordinate the timing of your visit with them to provide respite care and give them a chance to take a break.
Enjoy your time with your loved one and join them in their hobbies, take them out for a meal to their favorite spot, or enjoy reading and movies at home together.
3. Have an emergency plan.
Have a plan in place if your senior has an accident or other emergency so you can get there on short notice. Have a support network set up to help out when you’re gone with child care, pets, or your job. Also, have a “go bag” packed with essential clothing and toiletries, so you don’t have to worry about what to bring if you need to get there quickly.
4. Stay connected.
Many seniors are comfortable with technology and use smartphones and pads every day. Though it’s not the same as being there, stay connected with them via voice calls, video calls, and email.
Also, schedule telehealth calls with their doctors and other specialists who provide them with healthcare services. Speak regularly with their primary caregiver and stay informed about how your loved one is feeling and if any changes are happening physically or cognitively.
5. Recognize when home care is needed.
Are you noticing changes in your loved one’s behavior? This can be a sign of an underlying health condition or that they’re not taking their medication as directed. Other signs they need assistance are when they’re not properly caring for themselves (bathing, eating, cleaning, etc.) or no longer socializing regularly.
You Can Trust Us
Our home care agency has been delivering tender-hearted care for seniors living a long distance from their families for years. We provide families peace of mind by letting them know their loved one’s needs and how they’re being met. Our compassionate caregivers are carefully screened and trained to deliver all of the services your loved one needs. Call us today. We’re here to help.