What can you do when your aging parent needs care, but you are miles away? According to the National Institute of Aging, if you live at least an hour away from your loved one who needs care, you are a long-distance caretaker. So, here are some long-distance caregiving tips for those who are living in a continuing-care community.
Long Distance Caregiving Tips
1. First, get the facts. Learn as much as you can about your parent’s overall health, treatments, and available caregiving resources.
2. Conduct online research on the facilities available catered to your loved one’s needs. Make sure at least one caregiver has written permission to receive medical or financial information. Talk to them about what they need, and how they are feeling, and keep in mind how that might help them with their immediate care and medical needs.
3. See if you can work together with your family members, friends, and neighbors, and meet with current and potential medical professionals that can help you make important decisions.
4. Make the most of your visits by looking into the resources available to you. Note what alterations or resources your loved one might need. Whether that be medications, appointments, or additional care amenities provided for by the continuing care community.
5. Organize important paperwork. This includes important medical information, wills, and financial information. Keep everything copied in one place, preferably in a safe or locked fireproof box. Also, request access to important paperwork and address any legal issues. If one hasn’t designated a reliable power of attorney for health care and financial decisions. Address any legal issues and don’t forget things like banks and utilities. Plus, ask yourself whether your loved ones can cognately choose one for themselves.
6. Plan your visits. Keep them simple, relaxing activities like painting, sitting outside on a warm day, putting together a puzzle, or playing a card game. If you feel some burnout, or don’t know where to turn, many continuing care communities have respite care or access to additional resources that can help you.
All in all, it’s about enjoying their company and for them to enjoy yours in turn. Finding a bit of time to build memories and give your loved one needed time together is important. Also, staying connected via phone call or text message can give everyone peace of mind, keep everyone up to date, and help keep a consistent schedule.
A Checklist for Long Distance Caregivers
Many of us don’t initially have many caregiving skills specific to those ailing or older either, which makes it all the more difficult when you live an extended distance from them. Below outlines a few must-do items for caregivers!
- Establish Access: Keep important documents. Make copies of state and federal IDs or documentation like birth certificates, Estate Planning documents, Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogate, banking, and financial records.
- Make a list of figures in an emergency – Can someone else take over important decisions in an urgent situation?
- Determine roles and build your team; determine your roles – This includes medical professionals, friendly neighbors, siblings, friends, etc. Involving others to help you navigate the situation better.
- As a caregiver, it can take some of the burdens off if you rely on others to help manage your duties. Using digital apps can also help you manage your time and responsibilities.
- Learn about the resources provided for you if your loved one happens to need an assisted living community such as memory care or respite care.
Becoming a caregiver, especially for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases, can be quite overwhelming at times. However, having a community of support can help offset some of the concerns or questions you may have along the way. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and that your own health needs matter too. Long-distance care can be easier than you think.
To learn more about assisted living services at GreenField Court and The GreenFields Continuing Care Community, visit thegreenfields.org/assisted-living or call (716) 684-8400 today.
About The GreenFields Continuing Care Community
The GreenFields Continuing Care Community provides for the physical, social, and spiritual needs of residents in a Christian environment. In addition to skilled nursing, subacute rehabilitation, and outpatient therapy at GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center, The GreenFields offers a variety of living arrangements and support levels based on individual needs. This includes independent living apartments in GreenField Manor; assisted living apartments in GreenField Court; and memory care and enhanced assisted living in GreenField Terrace.