Offering real support and care to seniors is a challenge for many families. For those living far away from senior loved ones – or unable to visit due to current circumstances – the challenge is even greater.
As families spread out around the country and globe, seniors often rely on the support of loved ones who live far away. Long-distance caregiving has unique challenges, but it can be done safely and effectively.
In the US, approximately 5-7 million adults are responsible for caring for a senior family member who lives more than 26 miles away. Long distance caregiving for senior loved ones is typically challenging. Coordinating services, ensuring a senior’s safety, offering companionship, and dealing with emotions are all common difficulties for families. Distance adds more complications. As a result, common challenges of long-distance caregiving include:
- Finding, hiring, and managing professional caregivers
- Filling in for caregivers during times of absence
- Tracking seniors’ progress, needs, and well-being
- Offering companionship to combat loneliness
- Arranging for services like transportation
- Gaining assurance of senior safety in their own homes
- Feeling disconnected or out of the loop in the caregiving process
- Paying for quality care plus travel expenses
Many caregiving agencies, including Assisting Hands serving Cincinnati, OH are prepared to include long-distance loved ones in caregiving. Advances in technology also make it possible for far-away family members to be involved in caregiving. Smart strategies for long-distance caregiving include:
- Selecting a caregiver agency that offers interaction and transparency between in-person caregivers and family members
- Using video calling technology to stay connected with seniors on a regular basis
- Hiring home care, transportation, and other services designed specifically for seniors
- Opting for the support of a professional senior care agency
- Setting up automatic bill pay and other regular needs so seniors don’t have to track them
- Making sure access to medical records has been granted to those living far away
Half of all seniors in the US use social media and enjoy connecting online. This can make long-distance support much easier. Advances in technology make it possible for far-away family members to be involved in caregiving. Remember that while you may be anxious about your senior loved ones’ well-being – they are concerned about you as well. Stay positive in conversations, and be thoughtful about how you share family difficulties with your senior. Especially if they are experiencing memory loss or dementia, they may not fully understand any difficulties – but they do understand your tone of voice.
Beyond the usual technology for communication, there are now a number of options available that are designed specifically for seniors. These are often tablets with just a few large icons and allow one-click access to live video communication. Many do not require wi-fi, which many seniors living at home do not have. Search for “senior friendly tablets” to take a look at the options.
Assisting Hands serving Cincinnati, OH is very accustomed to working with families who live far away. Click here to learn more about the services we offer. We understand the importance of keeping families informed and involved with their loved ones. Give us a call today and learn more about how we can help be a part of your caregiving solution.
Sources: ClearCare, NCBI, Senior Living, Caregiver.org