Long Distance Caregiving

Long Distance Caregiving: How to Effectively Help Your Older Parents

Living at a distance from elderly parents can make home care needs easier to miss. The truth is, many adult children of senior parents don’t realize that Dad and Mom need help until they return home to visit or spend prolonged time together over the holidays. If you’re a family caregiver who lives in a distant location from your older loved one, it becomes that much more necessary to have a plan in place for crises and care.

The Santa Barbara companion care experts at Complete Care at Home have put together these helpful tips to assist in long distance caregiving.

Be Prepared

When you can’t just drive across town to assist, it’s vital to have family talks about the “what ifs” that could occur with your loved ones, such as:

  • Living situation desires are dependent on severity and who is involved – play out some situations for debate; for example, a fractured hip calling for a rehab stay.
  • How will you recognize when “it’s time” to implement a change? What would this look like?
  • Financial concerns in providing care, including how much time off work can family members afford to miss? What types of financial support may be available?
  • Advance directives for making decisions: make sure all is in order and keep a copy for yourself.

Re-evaluate Along the Way

When you aren’t able to see your older parents each day, it can be tempting to want to overlook the often uncomfortable business of evaluating health and wellbeing in favor of enjoying each other’s company, but it is important to regularly consider and assess how your aging parents are really doing.

  • Identify the registered nurse who works with your loved ones’ health care provider and maintain communication with that person.
  • Make sure there is a HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at all of your parents’ physicians’ offices so you can talk openly with the medical professionals, and make sure you have one for yourself.
  • Have frequent telephone calls with your aging parents to check in and help them resolve any issues.
  • Maintain a list of any informal local resources: neighbors, church friends, other relatives who can be part of your senior parents’ support network. Communicate regularly with that network and make sure they know how to reach you and that you welcome their calls.

Establish When to Travel and When to Stay Home

Problems are likely to develop, at times at a moment’s notice. You can’t travel for each problem, so determine ahead of time when you will travel and when you will use other resources to offer help.

  • Ask if this is a genuine medical or care crisis. As one part (not all) of your decision-making, ask the doctor, social worker, or nurse for more details and his/her opinion on whether you should travel to be with your loved one.
  • Can someone else locally manage the issue at hand or eyeball the scenario for you?
  • It’s OK to go there just to put your mind at ease as well. If remaining home and being worried will be less effective for you, then maybe you should go.

Consider Partnering with Complete Care at Home

Companion care in Santa Barbara not only helps by providing outstanding care for seniors, it can also give long distance family members a greater sense of peace and connection. At Complete Care at Home, our professional care staff have specialized training and can:

  • Evaluate the situation
  • Recognize problems, gaps, strengths and resources
  • Track health, activity, nutrition, etc.
  • Screen and coordinate other services and assistance
  • Work with financial, legal and medical providers
  • Communicate regularly with family members
  • And much more

If your aging loved ones are in need of home care or companion care in Santa Barbara or the surrounding communities, contact the caregivers at Complete Care at Home at 805-727-3445. We treat your family like our own.

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