Our Elderly Care Tips for Coping with Long-Distance Caregiving
When your loved one’s health begins to fail, your priority becomes finding the best elderly care possible. But this is often stressful, especially if this task is compounded by the fact that you don’t live close enough to visit on a consistent basis.
While this a challenging situation, it is possible to get the help you need to devise a realistic care plan that keeps your loved one safe and gives you peace of mind.
Practical Ideas When Managing Elderly Care
When a loved one needs care and assistance at home, organization is key. Even when you live far away, you can take steps to ensure your loved one is well cared for. At Visiting Angels, we work with families every day who are separated by distance. Our caregivers and office management teams are experienced in helping bridge the gap and be the eyes and ears you need.
We’ve created this list of tips to help you as you begin this journey:
1. Get and Remain Organized
Whether in a notebook or a digital file, make a comprehensive account of every possible detail about your loved one’s condition. That includes:
- Health history with dates
- Up-to-date medical list
- Doctors’ names, specializations, addresses, phone, and fax numbers
- List of allergies
- Pharmacy name, address, and telephone number
- Social security number and health insurance account info
- Documents including DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), Living Will, POA (Power of Attorney), and Advance Healthcare Directives
Additionally, if you are the primary contact:
- Make sure you are authorized to access bank and other financial accounts.
- Include your contact info (along with a backup person’s info) when filling out paperwork regarding the disclosure of medical information so you may speak freely with any physicians.
Have attorney contact info and details on their income taxes or their primary residence.
This task may sound herculean, but when it comes to elderly care, if you take the time to assemble all this information and update it as items change, you will feel more in control when someone asks you for something.
If you save the files to a cloud software provider, share the link with trusted family members so they can help when needed. Leveraging technology will help you feel more organized.
2. Get to Know the Staff
Whether you have contracted an elderly care provider like Visiting Angels or if your loved one is living in an independent or assisted living facility, establish relationships with caregivers, who will make a huge difference in your comfort level.
If you don’t live close by, request periodic Facetime sessions or conference calls to discuss your loved one’s case or condition. If your schedule is crazy during regular business hours, correspond via email from home in the evening. Decide together with the provider about the best form of contact and you’ll feel more connected.
3. Put a Date on the Calendar and Plan the Visit
When planning your visit, find out in advance if your parent or relative requires anything special like an item from the surgical supply store. Also, check with their elderly care provider so you have the full story on anything that’s needed. Sometimes caregivers can suggest items that your loved one may forget to tell you about. Speaking with both sides will ensure you have the full picture.
Do whatever you can to make the visit as special as possible, such as the following:
- Bring a DVD of the family movies or a beloved photo album
- Surprise them with their favorite dessert
- Pick up some fresh flowers
- Stick a tool kit in your car as there may be minor repairs you’ll notice once you’re there
- If they are comfortable leaving the house, make lunch or dinner reservations at their favorite restaurant
At the end of the day, what they want and need is to spend time with you. You may not be a trained elderly care professional, but if you stay organized and think ahead, you’ll be able to make a special memory every time you visit.