For Amy Goyer, AARP’s family, caregiving and multigenerational issues expert, caregiving at a distance hits close to home. With her work consistently taking her out on the road, she is often away from her father, who now lives with her. Putting together a team of people who can assist in monitoring how her father is doing has been of great help to her. So, she highlighted some of the tips she’s gathered to help others who may be farther away from loved ones in need of care in a recent blog post entitled, “4 Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers.”
- Include locals on the team. Often, there are people in the area happy to help out. These may be more formal agencies or organizations, such as care providers or government agencies, or they may be the local postman who’s known your loved one for years. Friends from church or other religious groups may also be able to stop by. These are your “eyes and ears on the ground,” Amy says.
- Always be monitoring and reassessing the situation. You never know when there will be a change in your loved one’s situation, but with a local team on the ground, you can keep a look out for any red flags. Amy suggests that some of these could include a significant change in weight, inability to maintain the house, a fall, loneliness, mail piling up, or anything else that might suggest a decrease in self-care.
- Be creative! Amy points out that, at times, something as simple as a phone call can change her father’s view of a whole day! Sometimes it’s the little things that can be done from anywhere that have a big impact. Amy suggests things like:
- Calling doctors or other care providers
- Organizing paperwork for taxes
- Scheduling appointments
- Ordering supplies
- Researching care options and medical conditions
- Contributing financially
- Technology can help! Why not make technology work for you? Amy mentions a recent AARP report indicating huge growth in technology services for caregivers! People are always seeking better ways to provide more effective, cost-efficient solutions, and caregiving is no different. Here’s a brief list of technologies that might improve your own caregiving situation:
- Video chatting—such as Facetime or Skype—to prevent loneliness
- Video cameras or motion detectors to monitor safety
- Medical alert systems or another type of personal safety monitoring in case of emergencies
- GPS tracking of a cell phone or another device
- Smart-home systems, such as remote door locking or light control, to assist caregivers
- Caregiving apps! There’s always an app for that these days, so do a quick search and see what’s out there that could help you!
No matter the physical distance, there are always ways you can contribute to the care of a loved one. Of course, one of the most important ways to care for loved ones is to ensure proper estate planning has been done. With a proper estate plan in place, a huge burden will be relieved enabling you to focus on the care of your loved one.
For more information on how to protect assets and plan ahead in case of death or disability, explore our website and contact us to schedule a consultation today!
Reference: Take Care: the AARP Blog (January 21, 2016) “4 Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers”