Whether it’s a parent, grandparent, or another person in your life, being away from a loved one isn’t easy. At times, careers, family or even circumstances beyond our control such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may prevent us from being able to care in person.
If you’re currently living away from a senior in your life, but want to be a source of care for them, there are many ways that you can provide support. Here are some helpful long distance caregiving tips.
1. Stay In Touch
A great way to provide support from a distance is to reach out to your loved one regularly. Speaking with your parent or grandparent on the phone or through video chat is a great way to stay connected and can also help you get a feel for how they are doing.
Another way to communicate is to set up a family group text so that everyone has the opportunity to connect and offer support.
2. Oversee Tasks From Afar
Take the stress off of your loved one’s plate by handling various tasks that can be done without being there in person such as paying bills online, coordinating appointments, ensuring medication is delivered on time and more. Helping with these types of tasks will give your parent peace of mind and more time to enjoy their day.
If and/or when something in their home might need repairing, help them by researching qualified and well-reviewed professionals, and offer to coordinate the appointment.
When you help to evaluate maintenance providers, you are caring for your loved one by ensuring they receive trustworthy service. Alleviating the stress of researching and scheduling appointments can be an important way to help seniors from a distance.
Related: 4 Common Scams Targeting Seniors
3. Help Arrange Transportation
If your loved one is no longer able to safely drive, have a conversation with them about alternative transportation. Give them details about available options, and allow them the opportunity to choose which they feel most comfortable with.
Check in with nearby family or friends to see if they could provide transportation when needed — whether that be regularly or at certain times that work with their schedule. If this is not an option, check into the availability of public transportation, services specific to seniors or senior living communities that include free transportation.
4. Visit When You Can
Though you might not be available to visit regularly, take time to visit your loved one when you can. Schedule time with them in advance so that you both have something to look forward to.
When present, make sure to observe the surroundings. For example, noticeable differences in the cleanliness of the home may be an indication that your parent could benefit from added help around the house or a senior living community where daily household chores are managed for them. If your loved one already has a caretaker, make sure to form a close working relationship with them.
5. Be Prepared And Informed
Make sure that your loved one receives the best care in the case of an emergency. An important step in long distance caregiving is having an emergency plan in place. This can include ensuring all of your loved one’s medical and legal documents are in order and easily accessible if or when needed.
If your parent has a medical condition, learn as much as you can about its symptoms and various treatment methods or best practices that may be available. Find trustworthy resources and reach out to medical professionals to get informed. Knowing the details can help you understand what’s going on, communicate better with doctors and caregivers, and also prepare you for your loved one’s journey.
We’re Here To Help
If or when the time comes that you feel your loved one would benefit from being part of a senior living community, we’re here to help guide you along this journey. Reach out to us to schedule a tour of your local Independence Village community to see if we might be a great fit for your parent.