When you live far from an aging parent or relative, it can be hard to determine if they need help with daily living. Not all seniors are outspoken about their health needs. By checking with your loved one’s neighbors, friends or doctor(s), you can get a better idea of their situation. If possible, arrange to visit for a day or two to get a first-hand perspective of your loved one’s needs.
Taking care of a senior loved one from a distance can be challenging. With the support of your family, however, you can make long distance caregiving succeed. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Get Everyone’s Help and Support
Teamwork is the key to making long distance caregiving succeed. Get as many of your family members as possible to commit their help and support. Share responsibilities as evenly as possible so those living closest to your loved one don’t feel burdened with too many tasks. See if neighbors or close friends can help or hire a professional caregiver, if necessary, to carry the brunt of the load.
Organize Your Team
Organize your team so everyone knows their responsibilities. Elect a primary caregiver to meet with your loved one’s physician(s), obtain their medical records and get updates on medical care. Compile this information in a folder to make it easily accessible to the rest of your family. In addition to your loved one’s medical history, this folder should contain contact info for doctors, list of medications, health insurance data, healthcare power of attorney and medical bills (paid and unpaid) to give your family a better picture of your loved one’s healthcare situation.
Prepare for the Unexpected
As a family, you should be prepared for unexpected emergencies that may arise. Your loved one may have an accident or suffer a sudden heart attack that requires emergency care. By planning ahead for potential crises, you can handle them more effectively without going into a panic. Inform your employer that you may need time off and set funds aside for emergency travel.
Keep in Touch with Aging Loved Ones
You may not be able to visit as often as you’d like, but you can always stay in touch with loved ones who live far away. Call frequently, email or video chat with your aging relative so that they know you haven’t forgotten them.
Take Care of Yourself
Long distance caregiving can take a lot out of you, physically, mentally and emotionally. You need to take good care of yourself if you want to be a help and support to others. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising regularly and getting sufficient sleep. Do your best to keep stress levels down, both at home and at your job, so you’ll be able to fulfill your long distance caregiving responsibilities.
If you need professional help in caring for an elderly loved one in the Pittsburgh area, contact Sunny Days In-Home Care at 724-260-5186 today.