Long Distance Caregiving

Question: How can I make my parent feel that I care for her despite of I live on the other side the country? I am guilty of not being able to live closer to her and I am stress of juggling between my own family, my job, my life and my parent.

Answer: Whether your loved one lived at her own home, in a facility or in a retirement community, there are many ways to make long distance manageable in staying connected and making a plan to be on top of the care she is receiving.

Get Connected

  • Meet the caregivers – Many in-home care agency encourages their clients to interview each candidates face to face, at least once. For those in a nursing home or retirement community: Meet all personel from the administrator to nursing assistant which your loved one will be interacting with.
  • Connect with their neighbors – Get their contact information to check in with them regularly to get their perspective of how your parent is doing, they may also encourage your parent to do some activities with them making them less isolated.
  • Keep in touch – Maintain a close relationship with your loved one’s caregiving community, keep their contact information via email, phone call, Facebook, and text. This will often result in better care and will be on top of every situation as they occur.
  • Be “visible” – Visit as often as possible, celebrate with them all throught the year. If you cannot be there, send greeting cards and your kids’ art. Make sure to keep them up to date on your daily life as well, often your loved one will open up more on their own daily achievements.
  • Lastly, be thankful – Thank all the people that filled-in the gaps for you more often. Let them know that their help is trully appreciated.

Plan and Manage

  • Have a plan – Outline the major responsibilities and develop a system to keep everything organized including regular doctor’s appointment, bills and account information, and names of those responsible. Develop a emergency action plan and make sure that everyone knows their role.
  • Share the caring – divide responsibilities among siblings or other family members. Always maintain a honest and open communication.
  • Put plans into writing –  Written communication is better to put your thoughts and make it clear to everyone involved, this way it saves you time in making multiple individuals well informed. Phone communication will be best when there are major concerns.

Your loved one will feel more closer than ever now that he/she knows you are just a phone call away. Remember, even if you are in control you will still need to be sensitive on your loved one’s feelings and wishes.

Researched by: Katherine De Dios

Sources: care.com, seniorarticles.com

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