Living far away from elderly parents can make the need for home care easier to miss. The fact is, many adult children of older parents don’t even realize that Dad and Mom need assistance until they return home for a visit or spend prolonged time together over the holiday season. If you’re trying to navigate long distance caregiving, it becomes that much more important to have a plan in place for emergency situations and care.
Stay Home Care has compiled these helpful tips to assist with long distance caregiving.
When you can’t just drive across town to help out, it is imperative to have family discussions about the “what ifs” that could happen with your loved ones, such as:
- Living situation preferences depending on severity and who is involved – play out some situations for discussion; for instance, a broken hip necessitating a rehab stay.
- How will you determine when “it’s time” to make a change? What would this look like?
- Monetary concerns in caregiving, like how much time off work can family members afford to miss? What third party financial support may be accessible?
- Advance directives for making decisions: ensure that all is in order and make sure you have a copy.
Evaluate Along the Way
When you aren’t able to see your senior loved ones each day, it can be tempting to want to neglect the often uncomfortable business of appraising health and wellbeing in favor of enjoying each other’s company, but it’s necessary to routinely give thought to and assess how your senior loved ones are really doing.
- Identify the nurse who is working with your loved ones’ doctor and maintain communication with that person.
- Be sure there is a HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at all of your parents’ doctors’ offices so you can talk openly with the medical professionals, and make sure you have one for yourself.
- Have routine telephone contact with your senior loved ones to check in and help them resolve any concerns.
- Retain a list of any informal local resources: neighbors, church friends, any other relatives who can be part of your older parents’ network of support. Maintain that network and make sure they know how to reach you and that you encourage their calls.
Identify When to Travel and When to Stay Home
Situations are likely to arise, sometimes at a moment’s notice. You simply can’t travel for each concern, so decide in advance when you will travel and when you will use other resources to help.
- Ask if this is a genuine medical or care crisis. As one part (not all) of your decision-making, ask the medical professional, social worker, or nurse for information and his/her recommendation on whether you should travel to be with your parent.
- Can someone else locally help with the issue at hand or eyeball the situation for you?
- It’s certainly ok to go there just to put your mind at ease as well. If staying home and worrying is going to be less productive for you, then perhaps you should go.
Consider Partnering with Stay Home Care
In-home aging care not only provides expert care for older adults, it can also give those navigating long distance caregiving an additional sense of peace and comfort. At Stay Home Care, our professional caregivers have specialized training and can:
- Assess the circumstances
- Identify problems, gaps, strengths and resources
- Monitor health, activity, nutrition, etc.
- Screen and arrange for other services and support
- Coordinate with financial, legal and medical providers
- Communicate regularly with family members
- And much more
If your aging loved ones are in need of home or dementia care, contact the care professionals at Stay Home Care at 615-964-7726 to learn more about our Brentwood home care agency and the communities we serve. We treat your family like our own.