Caring for your aging parent is stressful. This stress doubles when you are a long distance caregiver. You will come across unique challenges when you provide long distance senior care. The good news, however, is that you are not alone. According to the MetLife National Alliance for Caregiving Report 15% of people providing care for their aging parents live more than an hour away from their loved ones. Because of this rise in long distance caregivers there are many people asking what they can do to help their aging parents through senior care. Continue reading to learn some of our long distance caregiving tips.
Be available in any way that you can.
If there is assistance that can be given from a distance step up and volunteer to take that responsibility on. Some major things that you can do to help are:
Keep Track of Medical Information:
- Store and organize all medical records
- Keep notes of your loved one’s medical condition
- Compile a list of all the medications that they take
- Create a contact list of doctors and pharmacist for easy reference
Keep Track of Financial & Financial Information:
- Keep track of your loved one’s monthly income and expenses
- Store information on back accounts and credit cards
- Monitor your loved one’s utilities and have contacts for all utility companies
- Keep relevant legal documents that your loved one has or wants to create
- Create a list of all insurance policies, their carriers, and account numbers
Research Care Options:
- Keep a record of all agencies that can provide care for your loved one
- Keep phone numbers of all independent caregivers and agencies
- Interview nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or hospice options
It may seem simple but this long distance caregiving tips of keeping track of things for your loved one can provide a great deal of stability, comfort, and long distance senior care. The rest of your care team will likely be too stressed to keep track of things effectively. Your ability to be the organized resource center for your care team is invaluable.
What to do when visiting:
Whenever you are able to visit your loved one make sure that those visits are well spent. Because you are not able to easily see your aging loved one often, make sure you spend meaningful time with them. Take them out for lunch or engage in their favorite hobby. You will never regret taking the time to create new memories with your loved one.
When visiting, be sure to keep the rest of your care team in mind as well. If your siblings need a bit of respite, do your best to provide that for them. Take over some of the organizational tasks such as visiting facilities or taking your loved one to the doctors in the time that you are present. Little favors like that will go a long way in improving not only your bond with your loved one, but will help in connecting with the rest of your care team as well.
What if I’m the only one providing care?:
Providing care alone for long distance senior care can be very difficult. It can provide a great deal of stress and worry on your not being physically there to ensure that your loved one is safe. There are steps that you can take in order to ensure that your loved one is safe, even from a distance. These next few items on our list of long distance caregiving tips is focused on if you are providing care alone.
Install a Video Camera.
There are security cameras that can provide you with a live view of your loved one’s home from a distance. You can use this to check in on your loved one even when you aren’t able to be physically with them. It can help your loved one feel safe too, knowing that you are always there watching over them.
Ask for the assistance of neighbors.
Get to know your loved one’s neighbors. Most people are willing to help an elderly neighbor if they need assistance in a pinch. Additionally, be sure to get their contact information. Ask if they are okay tending to your loved one in emergency situations. If the care is light and only for a brief period of time, most people are happy to lend a hand to you because you are providing long distance senior care.
Work out a signal system.
Have your elderly loved one perform a simple task each morning and each night. This task can be something like opening their curtains each morning. This task will signal to their neighbors that they are safe. If the signal is not performed, have a trusted neighbor call you and report it so that you can address the situation. This simple ritual can keep a senior safe day to day.