Once you’ve become a long-distance caregiver, you’ll face many tasks. These include managing your loved one’s medical care and emotional well-being, as well as ensuring that daily and weekly tasks. From personal hygiene to grocery shopping and housework, you will be responsible for getting everything done. And all this while you’re miles away!
Tips for Caregiver Success Long Distance
These five survival tips for a long distance family caregiver can help you maintain your sanity while ensuring your aging loved one receives the best care.
1. Create a filing system to organize all the information you need.
A big aspect of being a family caregiver is simply sifting through, sorting, and organizing important information your loved one will need to receive the best care.
Organize your parent’s medical information, legal documents, and financial papers in a filing system. If they are missing documents, such as a last will and testament, living will, or power of attorney forms, speak to an elder care attorney.
Make sure to communicate with siblings, caregivers, or others you trust about where they can find this information in case of an emergency.
2. Educate yourself about the resources available.
Being a long-distance caregiver may seem like a daunting task, but resources are available to assist. The Aging Life Care Association, for instance, can help connect you with geriatric care managers, elder law attorneys, and others who can guide you on your journey as a long-distance caregiver.
3. Build a long-distance network of helpers.
Use the telephone, Skype, or even weekend trips to get to know people in your loved one’s neighborhood. From landscapers to doctors, you’ll want to find professionals you can trust to help your parent. This may even include a neighbor who checks in on your parent once a day. It might also mean visiting senior living communities that offer respite care services.
4. Leverage technology to help manage your parent’s care.
Although being a long-distance caregiver isn’t easy, today’s technology can ease some of the burden. Consider GPS jewelry that displays your loved one’s whereabouts on your smartphone. Or smart house technologies that you to monitor your senior loved one from your computer or mobile device.
Medication apps for mobile devices can alert your loved one when it is time to take a dosage. And a smart pill bottle can send a message to the pharmacist when it’s time to renew the prescription.
5. Set realistic expectations.
As a long-distance caregiver it’s important to remember you can’t do it all. Maybe you’d like to visit once a month, but quarterly visits are more practical. With your support network and technology in place to help, it’s easier to be realistic about what you can accomplish from a distance.
Don’t worry that you can’t do it all yourself. Just do what you can to ensure it’s all getting done.
Accept Help and Support
Don’t be afraid to seek support for yourself. This could take the form of a group of caregivers in similar situations, friends willing to lend an ear, or an online support group. After all, you’re working hard to make sure your parent is in the best hands. You deserve the same consideration.