Long-distance caregiving might at first seem like an oxymoron, but it’s actually an issue many families struggle with. If you’re a caregiver living over an hour away from your loved one, finding time to make the commute to provide care can be arduous. Understanding the options available to those involved with long-distance caregiving can make the whole process easier for families.
To start, there are multiple situations associated with long-distance caregiving:
• Helping to coordinate or manage in-home caregivers and other services
• Providing emotional support in person or electronically
• Managing a loved one’s finances or medical bills
• Providing medical or assistive services in person
Helpful Considerations for Long-Distance Caregiving
Depending on the amount of care your loved one needs, long-distance caregiving can be enough. Yet, as people age and their health may demand greater attention, the required time spent caring for an individual can quickly increase. If you are having difficulties coordinating care, it can help to weigh all of the factors involved. Not everyone has a full network of support or adequate resources, so learning some main ways to make the long-distance caregiving experience more effective is helpful.
Here are some examples of ways to make caregiving from a distance easier:
Research your loved one’s health – Understanding all of the medical needs involved with caring for your loved one is paramount to providing the best services. You’ll have a much better idea of how often you’ll need someone to assist them, as well as what might be required in future.
Plan for emergencies – In the event a medical condition does take a turn for the worse, you’ll need to have a course of action for how to respond. Write out the plan and work through it with your loved one. Anyone involved should receive a copy and be aware of their role and responsibilities.
Organize a family meeting – To keep everyone informed and up-to-date on the latest course of care, organizing family meetings can coordinate a team of caregivers and even allow people to bond during what might be a difficult experience. If distance is still an issue, try using electronic means like Skype or Facetime to get everyone “together.”
Consider professional help – If long-distance caregiving is just too much for a family to coordinate, it may be time to consider hiring a home health care professional to work with your loved one. Whether you decide to use an agency or hire someone yourself, keep in mind that it can take some time to find a perfect candidate. To start your search, check out our home care options and other resources available to get familiar with the process.
Caregiving can, at times, be a stressful endeavor when dealing with long-distance scenarios. Although, rest assured that there are plenty of professional agencies and caregivers ready to jump into the mix and provide their services. Whether you’re new to caregiving or a seasoned veteran, we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure that both you and your senior loved one lives a healthy and happy life.