Caregiving from a distance is no easy task. It can be stressful because you can’t be there at a moment’s notice when your parents need you. To help reduce some of the stress and to help you organize the process for care when your loved ones do not live near you, we have put together some helpful tips we’ve gathered from Nurse Gina.
Create a Contact List: Assemble and organize a contact list that includes addresses, phone numbers and emails of friends, neighbors, doctors, faith leaders and others in regular contact with your parents who you can be reached in the event of an emergency. Next time you are in town visiting your folks, make a point to introduce yourself to those on the contact list so that you feel more comfortable reaching out to them. In fact, take them out for dinner as a way to get to know them and say thanks for watching over your parents.
This list should also include other pertinent contact information, such as your parent’s local pharmacy, senior center, senior transportation services, and other businesses that you may need support from.
Gather and Copy Important Documents: Collect and make a copy of important medical, insurance, legal, financial, and even utilities’ documents and contact information and have them in an easy to reach place in case of an unexpected illness or accident. Having important documents in one place will simplify everything.
Productive Family Visits: Next time you are in town, you should spend time assessing their changing needs. In advance, schedule any necessary appointments your parents may need so that you can be there to discuss any changes with their doctor. Walk around their home to make sure things are in order and that their living environment is safe. Evaluate how they’re doing – are they keeping up with housekeeping, are they eating properly, paying bills and balancing their bank accounts, and socializing? You may find out during your visit that they may need more help to keep their independence at home.
Gather Local Information: You may find they need additional support in the months ahead. Identify community organizations that can work with you from afar and you could call when necessary. These local organizations may want to see you in advance. Your trip to visit your parents would be a great opportunity to make the connection, prepare the necessary documents and questions that you would like to have answered.
Get Help with Managing the Care: Most communities have professionals, like FirstLight Home Care, that can work alongside you to gauge your loved one’s abilities and needs and set up a plan for care. These organizations can be a great asset for your parent who may need day-to-day or occasional care. To learn more about the local services our FirstLight Home Care offices offer, check out our services.
Living far away from your parents is something many adult children face. By getting organized now, you will be prepared in case of an emergency and help you to reduce your stress. You need peace of mind in knowing how they are doing. If you have more questions or concerns about caring for your loved ones from afar, you can always ask our Nurse Gina. She is a great resource that is just a click away.
photo source: LDR Magazine