34 million Americans care for older loved ones, 15 percent (roughly 340,000) of caregivers are long-distance. Long-distance caregivers are defined at least being an hour's drive from their loved ones. HealthinAging.org recently gathered some tips for the long-distance caregivers:
Schedule a family meeting
Gather all of your family members to discuss what each of your responsibilities will entail.
Choose primary caregiver
The designated primary caregiver can look at big picture and determine whether their loved ones is receiving enough care.
Share responsibilities among family members, if possible
Everyone should take turns visiting and helping with chores.
Hire a geriatric care manager
Geriatric care managers are licensed social workers or nurses who specialize in the care of older people.
They are able to evaluate your loved one's needs and manage their required services.
Look into house call services
If your loved one needs regular medical care, but is unable to visit their doctor's office, see if house call visits are available.
Ask your loved one to appoint a power of attorney
The power of attorney is the legally assigned person to make decisions on behalf of the older adult is she is unable to do so.
The power of attorney ensures that their decisions on finances, legal needs, and health care are considered.
Ask your loved on to report any changes
Any changes in managing daily activities, for example getting in and out of a chair or bed, should be reported to the caregivers and their healthcare provider.
Ask others of help
Ask your loved one's neighbors, friends if they can keep an eye out for your relative. Also see if any local seniors groups are available at www.eldercare.gov or call 1-800-677-1116
Use an Emergency Call Button or a specialized phone
Use anything that your loved one can use to contact a caregiver in the event of an accident.
Have someone check food storage areas
The kitchen, refrigerator, freezer, and pantry should be double checked to ensure all the foods are not expired.
Remember to take care of yourself
Caregiving at times can be quite demanding. But, long distance caregiving can present increased caregivers.