Family members who live an hour or more away from their aging parents find comfort in knowing that long-distance care is a viable option. In fact, 34 million caregivers support their elderly parents and among those, 15 percent provide long-distance care. The considerable physical distance between the caregiver and senior can pose some difficulties, both financially and practically. However, long-distance caregiving is often successfully achieved with planning and preparation.
Guilt is one of the primary adverse factors long-distance caregivers experience when attempting to coordinate caregiving tasks for an elderly parent or family member. Feeling unable to spend quality time with an aging loved one or believing one is not doing enough can be difficult emotions to handle. Some experts indicate that once practical caregiving solutions are set in place, the guilt loved ones feel diminishes.
Stress is a second challenge that long-distance caregivers undergo, especially if they have families of their own and careers to manage. Caring for a senior from hours away can be overwhelming, particularly if the caregiver is new to the process. Hiring trusted in-home respite services helps to alleviate the strain.
Financial difficulties also arise from long-distance caregiving. Being unable to finance travel to visit as often as preferred, medication costs and out-of-pocket expenses contribute to the financial woes of long-distance caregivers.
Despite the challenges involved with long-distance caregiving, the process can be accomplished with some ease. A knowledgeable long-distance caregiver can learn to tackle the process, allowing for quality care from a distance.
Meet the Caregiving Team
Make it a point to meet the caregiver responsible for taking care of the daily needs of your loved one. If the caregiver is an in-home health aide, or if your parent is in a nursing facility, discuss the plan of care with the supervising nurse or doctor. When you visit, accompany the senior during a few doctor’s appointments. Understanding the care plan and developing a relationship with the medical team helps significantly when advocating for your loved one.
The medical team may allow you to access your family member’s online medical records to review appointment summaries, blood test results and current medications. You will also need to sign a release to allow the attending doctor to discuss your loved one’s medical issues with you.
Email, phone, text, Facebook and Skype are a few ways to keep in contact with your loved one and his or her caregiving community. Gift an inexpensive laptop or pricier tablet to the aging parent to enable communication as often as desired, whether daily or weekly.
Regular conference calls or video meetings allow caregiving staff to update you on your loved one’s well-being and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Setting up the frequency of these important calls depends on your loved one’s condition.
Using online technological services, you may also be able to remotely access your loved one’s computer to pay their bills or to help them write letters or emails.
Prepare the Living Space
If the senior in your life wishes to live in the comfort of home, prepare the home to ensure everyday safety. Modifications that you may consider include fitting the home with hand rails, a walk-in tub, ramps and grab bars. Install a medical alert system to bring emergency aid to your loved one right away.
Involve the Family
Siblings can offer significant support to a primary caregiver. If you have relatives who live nearby your loved one, enlist their help to share in the responsibility of caring for the senior. Form a care team that includes siblings and relatives, all of whom may contribute to some extent in the loved one’s care. Spreading the responsibility among many family members relieves any pressure that may be associated with just one caregiver handling all caregiving tasks.
Care can be divvied up based on a number of factors, like geography, finances or skill. A relative living closest to your parent, for instance, may visit more frequently. A skilled sibling may offer home repairs. Or, a relative adept in financial matters can handle your loved one’s finances with a financial advisor or lawyer.
Familiarize yourself with your parent’s close friends and neighbors, too. People who interact frequently with your loved one can offer perspective about your loved one’s daily well-being.
Consider Local Senior Care
The choices for elder care are plentiful. Choosing from the vast selection of available assisted living facilities can be overwhelming. Knowing your loved one has choices, however, is invaluable.
Aside from community organizations that support senior citizens, families have the option to hire reliable in-home elderly care. Home care agencies, like Assisting Hands Home Care, offer compassionate in-home care that is tailored to fit the needs of your loved one. A care plan is developed after meeting with both the family member and care recipient.
In-home care involves a multitude of services available on a flexible schedule to help the senior in your life live comfortably. Examples of elderly care services commonly provided by Assisting Hands Home Care include assistance with transportation to doctor’s appointments or therapy, help with grocery shopping and meal preparation, and companionship. Depending on your loved one’s physical condition, non-medical support can be offered, like assistance with grooming, toileting and bathing.
Long-distance senior care is fully manageable. By taking careful steps, your loved one can receive the best care possible, especially if he or she chooses to remain in the comfort of home. Home care agencies like Assisting Hands Home Care are a phone call away. We are staffed with reliable elderly care aides who can be dispatched to your loved one’s home within 48 hours of your call.
Making the right decisions to help a parent from afar eases the caregiving process and ensures that the health and welfare of your loved one are in good hands. If your family member resides in the Florida, contact Assisting Hands Home Care, which serves the elder populations with compassion and dedication.