Long Distance Care-giving
Updated: Jan 26
Are you a family caregiver?
Family caregivers are individuals who provide unpaid care to a family member, church member, friend, partner or neighbor. Care recipients are the individuals receiving the care. The care that is provided by family caregivers allows the elderly to remain in their homes with dignity, independence, and respect. Primary caregivers are responsible for maintaining two households, including: shopping, cleaning, laundry, yard and house upkeep. Additionally, they ay have to arrange and transport their elderly loved one to multiple doctor appointments. In addition, order and manage medications, pay bills and balance accounts. Geriatric Care Manager is a health and human services specialist who help families wcaring for older relatives.
Traditionally, American families have always cared for their elderly loved ones with assistance from the extended families. But in today's society family members are more spread out geographically than ever before. If you are a long-distance caregiver, you are not alone. It is not uncommon for aging loved ones to live one or more time zones away. According to Family Caregiver Alliance there are an estimated 7 million long-distance caregivers in the United States. Long-distance caregiving can be a challenge because you do not have the benefit of visiting your loved one as often as you want or need to.
Long-distance caring usually begins with a phone call from a neighbor or friend who has noticed a change in your aging loved one's behavior or is calling to report a crisis. Long-distance caring can take many forms, from helping with finances or money management to arranging for in-home care to developing a plan in case of emergencies. Often times, long-distance caregivers have to rely on other family members, friends, or paid help. The role of a long-distance caregiver can be demanding and emotional. It requires frequent adjustments, management and ongoing supervision. Here are a few tips that may make long-distance caregiving less stressful.
Gather information about the available resources for senior and family caregivers in your elder's community. Develop a list of names and telephone numbers of key people and places, for example, doctor, pharmacy, pastor, neighbor, friends, and building manager. To find local services for your loved one and family caregivers contact us so that we can help.
Do not be afraid to seek help. Seek assistance from neighbors or other relatives to assist you. You may want to seek the services of paid help by hiring, Geriatric Case Mangers, social workers or homecare aides. Ask your loved one if they would give you permission to speak with their doctor. This will allow you to keep updated on your loved one's healthcare issues and appointments so you are able to make adjustments as needed. Contact us to find out more on our Geriatric Care Manager services.
Ask your loved one if you can assist them in paying their monthly bills so they do not have to worry about them. Some long-distance caregivers find they can be helpful by handling things online, for example, researching health problems or medications, paying bills, or keeping family and friends updated. It is important to include your loved one in all affairs that may impact their life or living arrangements. Respect their concerns, fears and wishes. For example, making a decision to move your loved one near you or in your home may be best for you to manage their care but traumatic for your loved one. Leaving their home, familiar environments, neighborhood and friends can be stressful and foster a state of depression. Of course, if your loved one suffers with dementia, Alzheimer disease or unable to live at home alone; your greatest concerns will be to assure their safety.
When you do not live where the care is needed, it may be hard to feel that what you are doing is enough and that what you are doing is important. Many long-distance caregivers provide emotional support and occasional respite to the primary caregiver. Some may help a parent pay for care, while others step in to manage finances. Long distance caregivers visit can be set up to allow the primary caregiver to go on a vacation and not have to worry about the safety of their loved one. Offering appreciation, reassurance, and positive feedback to the primary caregiver is an important, but sometimes forgotten contribution!
Taking care of you: Remember to listen to that inner voice when having to make decisions about the care of your loved ones. Take time out to relax, meditate, take a deep breath, be still and pray for guidance and directions. You are not alone!
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path"
Psalm 119-105 AMP
Contact us to schedule a Family Caregivers’ Consultation or Caregivers’ Seminar for employees at your organization. You can and you are doing a great job. I just wanted to tell you that I love you and thank you so very much.