Sunday, September 26, 2010

Long Distance Caregivers

Being a caregiver while living in another state or city, far away from your loved one is never easy. Some long distance caregivers manage all of the affairs and care for a senior, while others provide support and assistance for the primary caregiver while living far away. Here are some tips for anyone who finds themselves in either of these types of caregiving roles.

First of all, don't try to do it all on your own. Utilize other family members, friends, and neighbors of your loved one. If possible, they can stop in and check on them or provide assistance from time to time, and most importantly let you know if anything needs your attention. You may also want to arrange for special programs like Meals on Wheels or utilize home health-care services to provide some care and assistance in the familiar surroundings of your senior's own home.

Give your long distance caregiving arrangement sufficient time, so that you can fairly assess how well its working, and identify adjustments that may need to be made. Resist the initial temptation to relocate, and only consider moving your elder into your home after you have had lots of time to think about it and consider other options. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly, as it will have a major impact on your own family.

Technology is great, and it has made it even more easy to communicate regularly with those that we love. Take advantage of what is available so that you can stay in touch regularly. This may include regular phone calls, or emails, instant messaging, or Skype video conferences -- if you can set them up with a computer with a webcam and show them how to use it.

Try to be careful to save your vacation days so that you can make visits or emergency visits if necessary. You may also be able to plan some of your holiday time off so that you can visit them. This can make for some great family time together, but it also allows you to better assess your senior's current health and living conditions so that you are able to better provide for their needs.

These are just a few tips for those who are caring for a loved one from far away. Most of all don't get discouraged or beat yourself up for not doing more. Do the best that you can, and enlist the help of others. Whether you realize it or not right now, you are a tremendous blessing to the person you are caring for.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right that caregiving at a distance should not be a solo effort. There are so many services, as you mentioned, that can help to bring meals, prescriptions and other services straight to the home. There are also a wealth of new products designed for the home to make life easier, safer, and more comfortable for seniors. These products in addition to the services you mention can produce a peace of mind that is second to none. Elder care at a distance is difficult, but not impossible!