Long distance caregiving for your elderly loved one can be challenging due to the lack of physical presence. Even through phone calls, emails, and text messages, it is hard to assist your elderly loved one in their times of need. Although there isn’t a straightforward solution for a long-distance caregiving relationship, here is what you can do to remain involved even when you can't always be there physically.
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Still Make Those Calls to Check-In On Seniors
Any type of live interaction would be helpful in this situation. Calling by phone is a lot more beneficial than texting or emailing, even if your elderly family member is well informed in using these means of communication. Because you are actually getting to hear your elderly loved one speak, it is more obvious to tell if something is bothering them compared to email and texting. It is also important that if you do call regularly, call at randomly chosen times. It is likely that your conversations will become routine and predictable if you chat at the same time every single day. Mix it up a bit—calling after an event will likely have them talking longer, with more details and experiences to share.
Video Calling for "Visual Reassurance"
Something a lot better than telephone calling would be video calling. Invest in a mobile phone, tablet, or a computer with a webcam, so you're able to download applications which will allow you to make video calls. These applications include Facebook, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Video calling will allow you to see your family member’s facial expressions, and physical state, and see that everything is going well around the house.
Consider Using a Personal Emergency Response System
A personal emergency response system can enable a senior to live independently with peace of mind, knowing that assistance is just a click away. There are a few lightweight unit options that can connect your ageing loved one directly to you for 2-way communication, or to an emergency response center to get immediate attention. You can also contact us to learn more about one such option that can be carried around anywhere — indoors or out.
Pay Them a Home Visit
By all means, the most effective way to assist your elderly loved one is by visiting as often as you can — holidays are especially welcoming. If you absolutely cannot be there, you can request a close friend or relative to pay them a visit on your behalf, and to bring a gift along with them, which they will enjoy.
Request That Your Friend or Neighbor Informs You About Any Concerns
If paying them a visit cannot be managed, asking a trustworthy neighbor to check in on them to ensure everything is in order is another great way to assist your loved one when you're not able to. And if any major issues come up, ask the neighbor to inform you immediately.
Contact a Senior Home Care Agency
If the suggestions listed above will not suffice, or you think you still need more coverage in assisting your elderly loved one when you are not around, employ the services of a senior home care agency. Such an agency employs caregivers who are trained professionals, and can offer companionship, personal support, and attention when you just can’t be there.
Assisting your elderly loved one when you can't be there will be tough, but seeking the help of close friends and neighbors can go a long way. Paying them a visit during the holidays will also fill a huge void, and it will allow you to physically check up on how they are doing. During your absence, technology can likewise help you stay connected, and if you need additional help without being a burden to others, contacting a home health care agency will help give you peace of mind.
Caring for an ill or elderly loved one is never easy; and when they’re hundreds or thousands of miles away, it’s even more challenging.
We recently found a very useful free downloadable guide, “Handbook for Long Distance Caregivers; an essential guide for families and friends caring for ill or elderly loved ones”. On page 11 you’ll find a handy checklist to help you identify key areas of care that your loved one may need. Click here to check it out.
We specialize in providing exceptional care to seniors. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding this guide or any other challenges you are facing. Please call or contact me at your earliest convenience.