Providing care for an aging family member is a huge responsibility and stressful challenge on its own. When you add the obstacle of living far away, those challenges become even more difficult to overcome. You worry how you’ll be able to care for them without physically being there. You may not know who to call or who to trust to help provide that care, especially in event of an accident. There are a lot of things to consider and manage to support their well-being. We can provide the advice and services you need to successfully care for your aging loved one and maintain peace of mind, no matter how far away you are.
Accept the Distance Challenge
According to MetLife, about 5 million adults care for their older parent and live one or more hours away from them. You are not alone; there are many people in a similar predicament, who can provide support through online forums, if needed. Caregiving isn’t easy, and there are sacrifices you’ll have to make to protect the well being of your loved one. Familial caregiver statistics suggest that 13% will have to take time off of work, 22% will endure financial strain, and 38% will have to make personal adjustments to their lifestyle. On top of those numbers, not being able to be there if there is a sudden change in your family member’s health or daily living can make you feel helpless. All of these perceived obstacles and stressors are valid concerns, but there are ways to effectively manage them. You just have to accept your situation, roll up your sleeves and begin.
Start by rallying siblings and other family members to discuss your loved one’s needs. Decide each individual family member’s role and responsibility in the caregiving process and who the primary caregiver will be. Then, get organized. Buy a notebook or digital template that will allow you to keep all important information in one place. Gather contact information from your family member’s doctors, legal advisor, financial advisor and banker, as well as close friends or neighbors that live nearby. Next, track down important documents and make photocopies of them. These documents should include:
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Social Security card
- Medicare / Medicaid / insurance coverage card
- Organ donor card
- Marriage certificate
- Credit cards
- Mortgage records
- Military records
- Legal Power of Attorney
- Healthcare Proxy
- Living Will
- Advance Directives
Analyze the Situation
You’ll need to analyze your aging loved one’s current situation to gauge the level of assistance they’ll need. Talk to them about their health and quality of life on a day-to-day basis to find out where they are having problems. If they are unwilling or unable to communicate their needs, pay attention to changes in demeanor and look for signs around the house that they need help. Consider which household and lifestyle responsibilities they can handle on their own and which ones they might need assistance with. Make a list of all of these needs and concerns before moving onto research. Or, if you are uncertain or unable to analyze the situation, have a professional do it for you. SameAddress conducts care assessments for older adults by sending a nurse and CAP-certified builder (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) to their home, to assess their current health and living situation. After the assessment, this team will provide a customized care plan that outlines the type of care services and home modifications your aging relative needs to live safely, comfortably and independently at home.
Explore Your Options
Take to the Internet and identify all the care solutions available in your loved one’s area. Cross-reference services offered with your current list of needs and concerns, while keeping future needs in mind. Document your options in a way that lets you easily compare services, price and accessibility of care. Comprehensive solutions that offer an array of personal care, concierge services and 24/7 emergency response can conveniently meet all the needs of your aging relative, now and in the future.
Selecting a care provider that can offer everything from one source can simplify your experience as an out-of-town caregiver by limiting your communications to a single provider. Once you have whittled down your best options, don’t forget to include your aging relative in the decision making process. If you run into any questions about a care provider, pick up the phone and call their business line directly to get answers.
Check Up In Person and Online
Whenever you get the chance to go visit your older family member, use it as a check-in to assess their care. Find out how they are enjoying their care providers and figure out if there is a need for additional services. Be sure to give your aging loved one quality time when you are in town, so they feel cared for while you are physically together. During visits, pay attention to the details of their life while keeping an ear out for any new challenges. Some care solution providers like SameAddress also have online portals where you can track the types of services currently being used and how often, making it easy for you to oversee care from a distance. You can also have a conversation directly with the care provider to get their perspective on how your loved one is reacting to the services they are receiving. By starting with a plan, finding a trusted care provider and checking in every now and then, you can successfully care for your family member from afar with the peace of mind that they are well taken care of.
Get Help Now
SameAddress is the latest and most comprehensive solution for older adults who choose to age at home. We provide everything they need to remain safe, comfortable and independent at home, from one trusted source. To learn more about how we can help you or a family member enhance quality of life at home, give us a call at 1-866-736-4671 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.