Caring for an aging loved one is difficult, but even harder when you are trying to do so from afar. Here are 8 tips to help you streamline your ability to be an effective long distance Caregiver.
Make a list to evaluate what you can help with, and what you need to delegate out. Some things like paying bills are easier to coordinate from a distance, where others like taking your loved one to a doctors visit is not. Make a list of all tasks that they need assistance with to figure out what you can take on, what you can delegate to other family members and lastly, what you will need to engage local resources for.
Hire a Geriatric Care Manager. Care Managers are usually licensed nurses or social workers who can serve as your “boots on the ground” by checking in regularly, taking your loved ones to doctor appointments and serving as their advocate to get questions answered, coordinate medical or care services, plus connecting you with local resources as they are needed since they usually have a strong network of geriatric service providers they can refer you to.
Explore other living situations. Be proactive and explore independent or assisted living community options. Even if consistent care isn’t needed now, these communities offer socialization and staff that is able to check in on your loved one consistently and report back to you. Meals, housekeeping, laundry and transportation services are also included which can be a huge help to your loved one as well.
Start utilizing video calls regularly. Seniors are not always quick to learn new technologies, but utilizing a video call system of some sort is an amazing tool to get valuable insight and updates on your aging loved one. Many times our clients will tell us that their parent “sounded fine on the phone”, but when they saw them, they realized that wasn’t the case. Video calls help keep relationships strong and communication lines open.
Have regular “check-ins” scheduled. This could be with a neighbor you trust, someone from their church or even hiring a private duty Caregiver service to check in once a week to get eyes and ears on the situation and your loved ones mental and physical health. Little signs like dirty clothes or expired food in the fridge can give insights into a bigger picture.
Plan your visits ahead of time. By doing so, you can coordinate doctor visits and other appointments while you are there and have a much more productive trip and create stronger relationships with your loved ones local “team” and get more meaningful updates.
Collect and organize all important health care and financial documents and information. Even though this is a lot of work upfront, it will save you so much stress down the road. Having access to insurance and banking info especially is critical if an emergency happens and you need to be coordinating anything from afar.
Don’t wait for an emergency to plan. One of the biggest mistakes we see families make is waiting for an emergency to plan and research care and resource options. Be proactive…this doesn’t mean decisions need to be made immediately. It just means that you have the information you need to make the best decisions when the time comes. Reach out to us at Sunways Assisted Living Concierge so we can gather some information about the situation and arm you with the info you need about in-home care, senior living communities and local resources.
We can arm you with resources to keep them safe at home or look at senior living community options to compare. You are not alone.