The wonderful thing about family is that the love you have for your mom, dad, brother, or sister moves you to do all you can to make sure they’re happy and healthy.
What happens, though, when you live far away? Can you still provide the care they need?
Thankfully, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Long distance care for the elderly is possible.
6 Tips for Successful Long Distance Care for the Elderly
1. Plan for the Future
When you start to notice a family member’s declining physical or mental health, start planning for their care right away. Gather important documents – their medical directive, insurance forms, financial records, monthly utility information, and social security number. Make sure you know where their legal records are being stored, including their will, birth certificate, and deed to their home.
Getting these forms together beforehand will save a lot of time, worry, and frustration down the road.
2. Make Your Visits Home Productive
It’s always important to remember that your visits home aren’t just about spending time with your family member. Your trips home need to be productive in order to provide them with the best care.
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, visits from long distance relatives can be difficult. It can be confusing and result in emotional stress. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit them.
Your visits ensure that they’re being well cared for. If they find your visits overly distressing, you may have to limit your contact with them. In the meantime, you can check with other family members as well as home health workers on the status of your loved one. Doing so will ease your mind that they are receiving the best care in your absence.
3. Invest in Home Health Care
Home health care services are an ideal solution when you’re dealing with long distance care for the elderly. When choosing a home health care company, find one that has the best reputation. This type of company will treat your family member with gentle care and respect them fully.
PBS contributing writer Leah Eskenazi of the Family Caregiver Alliance recommends asking home health caregivers to keep a notebook to document your loved one’s vital signs, medication administration, and regular updates on their physical and mental health.
Doing so will allow your visits home to be more productive and give you the opportunity to make well-informed decisions on behalf of your loved one.
4. Schedule Regular Family Meetings
All of the siblings in a family and anyone else involved in caretaking should know what’s going on with their loved one. It’s important to schedule regular meetings to that everyone can know the latest information pertaining to their senior family member. This will help with the decision-making process. It will also help because the primary caregiver will feel supported and the other siblings can help prevent caregiver burnout.
5. Think About All the Things You Can Accomplish from Far Away
It can be hard to imagine that you’re doing that much to help your loved one or their local, primary caregiver from far away. The reality is, though, that you can still do a lot from far away.
No matter the distance between you and your senior family member, you can accomplish the following:
- Help with bill pay and finances.
- Provide emotional support for the local, primary caregiver. Care giving is a huge job. They’ll love the support!
- Be willing to do research on medications, treatment options, and medical procedures. The primary caregiver might not have time to do this. By taking the initiative in doing research, we find that the patient gets the best treatment, and both local and long distance caregivers are well educated in what’s going on with their loved one.
- Another way to ease the load for the primary caregiver is to be willing to pass information along. A lot of our patients’ caregivers will tell one family member about the latest that’s going on with their senior family member. This family member, in turn, relays the information to the rest of the family. It helps save a lot of time!
6. Take the Time to Care for Yourself, Too
Caregivers, no matter where they live, need to take care of their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. The job of long-distance caregiver has the added burden of guilt. Many caregivers feel guilty because their circumstances do not allow them to live closer to their loved one.
Hiring a home health company like Intrepid USA can add even more guilt. We find that, in many cases, family members feel like they should be the sole caregiver – that they have to take care of everything on their own. Asking for help makes them feel inadequate or like they aren’t fulfilling their duty.
We understand these feelings, but no one should be left to care for their loved one alone. We often accept the “it takes a village to raise a child” saying as proof that caring for a child involves many people – parents, grandparents, teachers, and many, many others. Why should it be any different for our elderly family members?
We all need care, and we all need help. Hiring home health workers is a great way to ensure your loved one is adequately cared for while easing your mind and giving you a break from having to take care of them 100% of the time.
Get the Home Health Care Assistance You Need with Intrepid USA
When you need long distance care for the elderly, choose Intrepid USA. Intrepid home health caregivers take pride in their work, treat those in their care as unique individuals, and always put their clients’ interests first. If you need help with your long distance care giving, Intrepid is only a phone call away.
Are you interested in help for your loved one? Contact us to find out how we can help!