6 Tips for Effective Long-Distance Caregiving
Providing long-distance care can be stressful and sometimes heart-wrenching for family members and senior loved ones. Adult children who live far away — in another state or country — may find it challenging and nearly impossible to tend to an older parent because of travel time, expenses, work, family commitments, and other responsibilities.
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, long-distance caregivers are significantly more likely to report emotional distress (47%) than caregivers who live closer to their loved one.
But supporting a loved one a long distance away doesn’t have to be so difficult. Non-medical home care services can assist senior loved ones with daily tasks and activities, while also giving family members the peace of mind that comes with knowing a trusted professional is close at hand to assist.
How Can Long-Distance Care Be Most Effective?
If you are a long-distance caregiver, here are six tips to help you effectively partner with family, friends, and a professional home care provider to provide the support your loved one needs:
- Discuss caregiving responsibilities
Meet with family members and professional caregivers to talk about your loved one’s needs. Identify and share what types of assistance you can offer, and don’t be afraid to discuss your limitations. Your loved one might need someone to manage legal, medical, and financial matters, which you could do from home. Your relatives and professional caregivers can discuss ways to complement each other’s availability and strengths to determine who will be responsible for different tasks.
- Designate a point person to keep you informed on your loved one’s condition
Whether it is a sibling, trusted friend, neighbor, or hired in-home caregiver, designate a point person who can check on your senior loved one and keep you informed. One person can serve as your “eyes and ears” to keep you from becoming overloaded with information from multiple sources.
- Know the signs of elder abuse
Knowing the signs of elder abuse can help you keep your loved one safe. Dedicated at-home care from a qualified professional organization, such as Visiting Angels, will go a long way toward preventing elder abuse. But watch for signs like mood changes, unusual spending or banking habits, increased isolation, unexplained injury, disheveled appearance, bed sores, or similar preventable conditions.
- Evaluate your loved one’s living space
Determine if your loved one’s living space is safe for their needs and condition. A home care professional and other family members can help your loved one stay safe and avoid falls at home. But watch for signs like mood changes, unusual spending or banking habits, increased isolation, unexplained injury, disheveled appearance, bed sores, or similar preventable conditions.
- Make the most out of your visits
Personal visits — even if only a few times a year — are an ideal time to check up on your loved one’s well-being. Monitor their home environment for projects that need attention and changes in their physical or mental condition. In-home caregivers can handle some daily household tasks, so you can make the most of your visit to enjoy each other’s company.
- Plan ahead for emergencies
In an emergency, being prepared can make all the difference in the world. Create a plan for emergencies, including documents such as an emergency medical file. It can be a lifesaver – literally.
You want what is best for your loved one, and living far away can make that challenging. However, a strong partnership with nearby family members, neighbors, and professional caregivers will comfort you knowing your loved one has the compassionate support they need and deserve.