Once upon a time entire families lived within a few miles of each other. Some of the family even shared the same home and so there wasn’t much discussion about who would take care of family members as they aged. It was a family matter and the caregiving was left to the family.
With sons and daughters, sisters and brothers all around everyone could pull together and help out. Sure there might be someone that didn’t do their fair share but there was always someone else in the family to pick up the slack, willingly or not.
But much of that has changed and families are spread across the country and even the world. Adult children make their homes far from their parents, many miles separate siblings and this distance makes caring for aging relatives much more challenging than when everyone lived close to each other.
And while we have all sorts of sophisticated communications tools at our disposal, none of these can substitute for being in close proximity and actually seeing what is going on with your own eyes. Bottom-line, caring for aging relatives from a distance can be emotionally draining and a logistical nightmare.
Here are some tips that can help make long-distance caregiving more successful as well as providing your senior with a better quality of life:
Make it a point to have daily communication by phone or video chat…Skype is a great one. Establish a set time of the day for the conversation and check in to find out how the senior is doing. Share news and help them to feel like they are an important part of your life. It’s a basic human need to feel wanted and needed.
Check in with the medical professionals who are treating your family member and make certain you are knowledgeable about their medications and any other treatments they require.
Consider working with a home care agency and engaging the services of a professional care manager (www.caremanager.org). These professionals will provide great peace of mind and confidence that your loved one is being well cared for.
A daily money manager can assist with bill paying and other paperwork that might be too difficult for your senior. Check www.aadmm.com to learn more.
Bottom-line while it may not be possible to be in close physical proximity to your senior family members you can indeed remain integrally involved in their care and emotional wellbeing and have knowledgeable professionals on the ground ready to be there when you can’t.