Long-distance caregiving takes many forms. Many caregivers act as information coordinators by helping older adults understand the health care system and insurance. Approximately 7 million adults are long-distance caregivers, caring for aging parents who live an hour or more away.
More and more older people are living alone far from their families. When you live many miles away from your loved one, the separation can complicate caregiving. Concerns about safety, nutrition, and health can be overwhelming.
Following these 5 simple tips can ease the burden and potential guilt of living away from your aging loved one.
- Seek help from people in the community. Build a list of contacts such as the next door neighbor, the primary doctor, and local church.
- Search for local resources to help you coordinate care. Geriatric care managers specialize in assessing and monitoring the needs of older adults.
- Create a list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, along with dosing instructions. Keep it updated for emergency situations.
- When you visit, check the home for possible hazards and safety concerns. Clearing out clutter that can cause a fall or adding grab bars to the bathroom can lower the risk of accidents.
- Find out if your parent has an advance directive stating his or her health care treatment preferences. Elder-law attorneys help older clients with legal documents for healthcare, legal, and financial decisions.
Many older adults want to remain in their own homes and community. Few long-distance caregivers are able to spend as much time with their loved one as they would like. By using your time efficiently and asking for help, your aging loved one can remain independent for as long as possible.