Long Distance Caregiving: Caring for an older or disabled adult-tips to make your job easier.
If you live in another town or state from a loved one who needs care, you will face very specific challenges. How will you know that the person is getting what he or she needs? The tips below can help.
Make regularly scheduled visits:
*Depending on the level of independence, these visits to assess the person’s needs.
*You and other relatives or friends may be able to take turns visiting so that the person is checked on regularly.
*If you cannot visit often, consider having someone who lives near the person take responsibility for care.
When you visit..
*Assess the person’s ability to care for him or herself. Check in about:
-Meals and self care
-Shopping, errands and household chores
-Medications and doctor’s appointment
-Money management and paying bills
-Driving and transportation
-Mental or emotional health
Arrange for help when needed:
*Ask the person what kind of care he or she needs or will accept. Be respectful of the person’s lifestyle and independence.
*As health care providers, neighbors and friends what type of care they think the person needs too. They are closer and may see things that you won’t notice during short visits.
*Help the person arrange care. The person may not be able to do it alone.
Plan regular check-in times:
*Regular phone calls can be a good way to check in . If the person has a hearing problem (and may not hear the phone ring), plan a specific time to call so he or she will know to answer. Or arrange for special phone equipment for the hearing impaired.
*When you talk, listen for any changes in the way he or she speaks or engages with you.
*For some people, email or letters are also good ways to check in.
Enlist the support of local friends:
*Consider asking a friend, relative or neighbor to look in on the person daily or weekly.
*Find people who live near your relative-friends, neighbors or local relatives-that can be called in an emergency. Knowing that someone is nearby can help ease your concern.
*Consider paying the friend or relative for his or her time.
Get local information:
*Order a local phone book. Get the names and numbers of local services. Even if you do not need to use them now, you might later on.
*Keep a notebook with the names and phone number of doctors, the landlord, the power company and others that provide company and others that provide services for your loved one.
*Photo copy social security, Medicare and insurance cards and Durable Power of Attorney documents. Then you will have the information ready if needed.
Connect with community resources:
*Meet with doctors and other care providers when you visit. Ask them to report any changes in your loved one’s health.
*Contact local social services to see if you loved one is eligible for assistance.
*Contact organization, clubs and religious communities that your loved one participates in. Find out if they have support systems you can utilize.
*Contact local volunteer programs. See if they can provide a volunteer to visit regularly.
*Consider registering your relative for a personal medical emergency alert system, such as an emergency alert system, such as an emergency button worn around the neck or on the wrist.
Help the person accept care:
*Explain that you want to help them stay healthier, more comfortable or independent.
*Acknowledge and address concerns over accepting care.
*Treat the person with respect. Your loved one is ultimately in charge of care unless he or she is unable to make decisions.
Consider a care manager:
Care managers, also called case managers, are social workers or nurses who help arrange care for older or disabled people. Care managers can be hired privately. Or if your loved one has low or moderate income, local county social services may provide a case manager or social worker to help arrange services.
When looking for a private care manager, ask:
*What services do you offer?
*What are your professional credentials? Are you licensed?
*How long have you been providing these services?
*What are your fees? (This service may not be covered by insurance)
*Can you provide references?
*Are you available for emergencies?
Caring for a loved one when you live in another town or state can be challenging. Inside you will find tips that may help make your task a little easier.
To find information about social and support services for your loved one, consult the local phone book. You can also call the Eldercare Locater at 1-800-677-1116 or visit its website at http://www.eldercare.gov on the internet.
*Written by Mardi Richmond for Journeyworks Publishing.
*Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Journeyworks Publishing pamphlet. I find these pamphlets very informative and help caregivers out. Please look over the blog for other Journeyworks Publication pamphlets.