Aging parents who live an hour or more from their adult children often discover the need for extra support at home. When conducted from afar, help with paying bills or managing finances, emotional support and evaluating the safety of the home are all examples of long distance senior care. Adult children who live too far away to provide constant supervision of an aging parent can still contribute to the well-being of a loved one through the supportive benefits of long distance care.
- Get started on compassionate, long-distance care
An ideal first step in long distance care is to discuss with a parent what needs must be met. Asking how you can be of assistance is an optimal way to learn about what is lacking and to give you and the senior a starting point for what must be addressed.
- Understand your parent’s state of health
Have a good grasp on the senior’s current health condition. Knowing what conditions a parent suffers from helps you anticipate the course of the illness and prevent a crisis situation. Being informed helps you stay on top of your parent’s healthcare management.
Discuss your parent’s condition with his or her doctor, as well. Consulting with an attending physician about the senior’s health plan is easier when you are familiar with the prevailing illnesses. Obtain written permission, in accordance with HIPAA privacy laws, to receive all medical information from your parent’s doctor.
Set up regular conference calls with the healthcare team of doctors to stay up to date on the progress of your parent’s health. Include a social worker to help make important decisions from afar.
- Create a medication list
In the event of an emergency, you will want to have on hand all the current prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines your parent is taking. Be sure to update this list regularly.
- Evaluate the safety of the home
As elderly individuals age or when they succumb to unexpected illnesses, their physical mobility may become impaired. When you visit, pay attention to how the senior’s home can be improved to better provide for your loved one in his or her condition.
Examples of home improvements include installing a ramp to replace the stairs, if steps become too difficult to manage. Remove clutter, like rugs or other hazards, which the senior may trip over. Handrails around the home assist with mobility, especially if the senior is unsure of his or her balance.
- Offer genuine companionship during visits
When adult children visit, at the forefront of their minds is how to be a caregiver, hurriedly tackling every task during the limited time of the visit. Rather than assuming a frenzied caregiver role, experts recommend spending quality moments with the parent. If dad wants to attend a worship service, accompany him. Rent a movie to watch with mom. Take a drive with your parents to visit friends or family members. Enjoying periods of relaxation with your loved one benefits everyone immeasurably, and forms cherished memories in the process.
- Involve the community
Neighbors, close friends and local religious establishments a parent frequents are resources to help keep you informed about the welfare of your loved one while you are afar. Make sure the circle of people involved in the senior’s life have a way to contact you.
- Include family members in your parent’s care
Split parental caregiving responsibilities among family members. A brother who is handy with tools can fix up dad’s home when needed. A sister who is financially capable might be in charge of managing the parent’s finances. When the primary caregiver chooses to go on vacation, a long-distance relative can arrive to serve as a substitute caregiver for the duration. Leaning on the support of family members is extremely helpful when managing the care of loved ones from a distance.
- Fit your parent with technology
Give your parent a cell phone and add important contact numbers to the contact list. Yourself, doctors, family members and friends are all critical people your parent may need to reach in the event of an emergency.
- Consider setting up a tablet or computer for your parent
As a long-distance caregiver, you can help manage your parent’s bills online, or remotely if needed. Email is an effective method of communication as well. As with all technological devices, make sure your parent knows how to use them.
- Hire a trusted caregiver
When you are unable to provide constant supervision for an aging parent, you can take steps to hire an in-home elderly care service provider. Caregivers experienced in senior care are invaluable when you need someone to fill in the gaps.
Home care agencies, respite services and professional caregivers are all viable options that can provide extra support for a loved one. Caregivers can be hired for any length of time, from a few hours to several months. Many home care agencies retain a staff that specializes in various conditions that often affect seniors, such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes or stroke. The health and support needs of an aging parent will dictate what level of caregiving services are required and whether care needs to be medical or non-medical.
Offer compassionate care to an aging parent, even if you liveover an hour away, by hiring a reputable home care agency. Assisting Hands Home Care is a trusted senior care agency that specializes in providing dedicated, non-medical care to the elder populations. Common in-home services include meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation and personal assistance (grooming, bathing and dressing, for instance). Companionship is included to increase socialization and to allow the development of personal relationships with the senior client.
Should your loved one require continuous in-home care, 24-hour care is offered through our team at Assisting Hands Home Care. Live-in care is an alterative service provided by the agency, if your parent is likely to benefit from around-the-clock support. The Assisting Hands Home Care team offers comprehensive, non-medical care management to help your loved one live a life of dignity and independence in the comfort of home.