Of the 34 million family caregivers in the United States, about 15 percent are long-distance caregivers (live an hour or more away from the person you’re caring for). This isn’t surprising, considering how mobile our society is and how many children move to different cities away from their parents when they graduate from school. Caring for a loved one when you live in the same city can be difficult, but long-distance caregiving carries with it a unique set of challenges. Here are five tips to help you successfully manage care from a distance.
Tip #1: Know and connect with their healthcare providers
Even though you can’t be with your loved ones when they have medical appointments, you can build a solid connection with their physician. Many doctors will communicate with family members after an appointment by phone or e-mail and apprise them of how their loved one’s health is doing (you will have to fill out a HIPAA release form) or gain Medical Power of Attorney.
Staying attuned to your parent’s health through their healthcare providers will allow you to be more involved in advocating for their care, assist them with following their doctor’s orders, and give you more peace of mind.
Tip #2: Build a local support system
Both you and your loved one need to have people nearby who can provide support when needed. Build a contact list consisting of their friends, trustworthy neighbors, or members of their church. You need someone close by who can physically check on your senior if you’re concerned about something. Many apartment complexes and senior communities have neighborhood Facebook pages you can join.
Tip #3: Communicate more often
As busy as life gets, weeks pass quickly, and we lose track of keeping in touch with friends and family. Long-distance caregivers need to communicate with their loved ones at least 1-2 times per week. They need to know that you’re there for them. Video calls like Skype, Zoom and FaceTime let you see Mom or Dad, giving you visual cues on how they’re doing physically and with self-care like bathing, dressing, and grooming.
Tip #4: Use local resources
If your senior is having challenges with activities like grocery shopping, housekeeping, or cooking, you can arrange local support. Most major grocery chains offer online shopping with delivery or curbside pickup. And you can find and line up every service they may need online, including lawn care, housekeeping, home repairs, and transportation services.
Tip #5: Set up online banking
Seniors are prime targets for financial fraudsters and scammers. By being a joint account holder with your loved ones and using online banking, you can monitor their accounts. It’s highly important that you make sure there are no unusual transactions, like unexplained ATM withdrawals or wire transfers, or someone you don’t know being added to their account. You can also make sure your loved one is paying their bills on time.
First In Care Helps Long-Distance Family Caregivers
First In Care has helped many long-distance caregivers with loved ones in Bradenton and Manatee County feel secure by providing the senior home care services they need. We provide companion care, help with daily activities like meal preparation and light housekeeping, and we can run errands like picking up groceries.
Don’t keep your fingers crossed from a distance, hoping your mom or dad is doing alright. Instead, contact First In Care and learn how you can affordably make sure that a local, professional caregiver is keeping them safe and secure at home.