The world has become increasingly mobile, and it’s no longer the norm for extended families to remain together in the same communities. Career choices, preferred climates, and other factors often lead adult children to start new lives hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their childhood homes. Unfortunately, difficulties can arise as parents age and caregiving from a distance becomes a challenge.
If you live at a distance from an older loved one there are a number of strategies you can implement to ease the burden of long-distance caregiving. THE MEDICAL TEAM, a provider of home health care solutions, offers the following suggestions:
Plan ahead. Proactively planning for future needs is the best way to reduce stress and effectively manage those needs when the time comes. Pull together copies of all important documents such as living wills, powers of attorney, veterans’ paperwork, etc., and store together in a safe location. Create a list of contact information for all medical providers, close friends and neighbors to keep on hand, and maintain an updated list of all medications being taken. Outline the course of action to be taken in the event of either an emergency need or planned surgical procedure.
Research resources. Seek out helpful resources for aging in the senior’s community, such as the Area Agency on Aging, Department of Aging Care Services, transportation options, and senior centers. Ensure that the senior has a strong local support network in place and access to any necessary services, both now and to cover any future needs. Online support groups are also helpful, whether for specific diseases and conditions, for long-distance family caregivers, or for seniors themselves to enhance socialization.
Utilize technology. With the explosion of technological advances, staying close to those at a distance is easier than ever. Provide the older adult with technology that is easy to learn and use such as a cell phone with larger screen size and buttons, a tablet or computer, and help with setting up programs such as Skype and Facebook. Partnering with a professional in-home care agency, such as THE MEDICAL TEAM, allows families who live at a distance to breathe easier, knowing older adults having a skilled caregiver who can:
- Meet a wide range of individualized needs, including skilled nursing, therapy, social worker services, home health and homemaker needs, coordination of home medical equipment, and more
- Remain alert to any changes in condition and get help immediately when needed
- Make sure the home is clean and well maintained
- Prepare healthy and nutritious meals
- Take care of running errands, such as grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions
- Provide friendly companionship and encouragement to engage in funactivities
- And much more
Contact the home health care team at THE MEDICAL TEAM to learn more about how we can serve as a partner in care and ensure that older adults are safe and thriving at home. Serving New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and the metro DC area, we’re on hand to answer any questions or to schedule an in-home consultation to share how we can help. Contact us to learn more!