Living at a distance from older family members can make home care needs easier to miss. As a matter of fact, many adult children of older parents never even realize that Mom and Dad need assistance until they come home for a visit or spend extended time together during the holidays. If you’re a family caregiver who lives far apart from your senior loved ones, it becomes that much more important to have a plan in place for emergencies and care.
Effraim Home Care, the expert providers of senior care in Abington, PA and nearby communities, have compiled these helpful recommendations to assist in caregiving for long-distance families.
When you can’t just drive across town to help out, it is imperative to have family discussions about the “what ifs” that could happen with your loved ones, such as:
- Living situation choices dependent on severity and who is involved – consider some situations for discussion; for example, a fractured hip necessitating a rehab stay.
- How will you identify when “it’s time” to implement a change? What would this look like?
- Financial concerns in caregiving, such as how much time off work can family members afford to miss? What outside financial assistance might be obtainable?
- Advance directives for making decisions: make certain all is in order and make sure you have a copy.
Re-evaluate Along the Way
When you aren’t able to see your senior parents every day, it can be tempting to want to neglect the often-uncomfortable business of appraising health and wellbeing in favor of enjoying each other’s company, but it is necessary to routinely think about and assess how your aging parents are really doing.
- Identify the RN who works with your loved ones’ health care provider and stay in communication with that person.
- Be sure there is a HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at all of your elders’ physicians’ offices so you can talk openly with the medical professionals, and retain one for yourself.
- Have routine phone contact with your parents to check in and help them resolve any concerns.
- Maintain a list of the informal local resources: neighbors, friends, any other family members who can be part of your senior parents’ support system. Communicate with that network and ensure they know how to contact you and that you encourage their calls.
Establish When to Travel and When to Stay Home
Circumstances are likely to develop, perhaps at a moment’s notice. You can’t travel for each issue, so decide in advance when you will travel and when you will utilize other resources to provide support.
- Ask if this is a genuine medical or care emergency. As a part (not all) of your decision-making, ask the healthcare provider, social worker, or nurse for information and his/her opinion on whether you should travel in.
- Can someone else locally help with the issue at hand or eyeball the situation for you?
- It’s okay to go there just to put your mind at ease as well. If staying home and being concerned is going to be less productive for you, then maybe you should go.
Consider Partnering with Effraim Home Care
In-home aging care can not only provide expert care for older adults, it can also offer long-distance families a greater sense of peace and connection. At Effraim Home Care, our professional caregivers have specialized training and can:
- Assess the circumstances
- Identify problems, gaps, strengths and resources
- Monitor health, activity, nutrition, etc.
- Screen and coordinate other services and support
- Coordinate with financial, legal and medical providers
- Communicate regularly with family members
- And much more