Improving Long-Distance Caregiving
It is not always possible to live close to an aging parent, especially if they want to age in place. If you have moved away, and they are adamant about staying in their own home rather than moving to a nearby assisted living community, nursing home, or in with you, it can require some strategic planning to ensure they’re doing well. It is not always easy or ideal, but it can be done.
You can allow your senior to live where they want to live, stay close to their friends, and continue to be involved in their local community. Sometimes it’s better for them to be in a very familiar place rather than moving somewhere they don’t know. At the same time, you want to remain aware of what is going on and know that they are safe and thriving.
Overcoming Distance to Stay in Touch
Utilize technology. Set up a video calling program such as Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Google Duo. This allows you to not only talk to your aging parent, but to see them as well. You can take note of how well it appears they’re keeping up with personal hygiene, eating, laundry, mood, physical safety, etc. If they’re developing dementia, putting a face with a name when they talk can also be helpful. Set up specific times each day or week to call to create a consistent routine.
Schedule visits. Try to visit as regularly as possible so you can see your loved one and their home in person. Maybe you only get out once a month or once very few months, but it’s worth it to make the effort. It also allows you to take care of business while you’re there and watch your loved one moving about their home and taking care of themselves to see if there are any concerns. Since you don’t see them every day, you may also notice changes from visit to visit that you wouldn’t otherwise.
Coordinate with family. Share the responsibility and enlist the help of other family members as well. You can take turns visiting and calling, and each person could be accountable for different tasks. One person may go to help with shopping or laundry while another works with a financial professional on money management. Just make sure that everyone communicates regularly so no one is left in the dark or missing out on important information.
Have plans in place. Set up power of attorney, medical directives, and emergency plans in advance. Know who you should call if you can’t get a hold of your loved one, or if they call you with a problem. Ensure that all of their emergency contacts are up-to-date and that you have access to any accounts or information you may need.
Hire an in-home caregiver. Knowing that an in-home caregiver is there to support your loved one’s needs can give you greater peace of mind and empower your aging parent to age in place more safely. You can coordinate them to be there a few hours a day or a few hours a week depending on your senior’s level of need. They can help with everything from meal planning and prep, light housekeeping, and organization to accompanying your loved one on outings, providing appointment or medication reminders, and playing games or cards.
Having an in-home caregiver there with your loved one can be a huge benefit for them and you making long-distance care a little easier. Contact Always Best Care today at 586-203-2157 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about senior care services.