Even if you don’t live close to your older family member, you can still be an important and effective part of the caregiver team. You may not be able to provide hands-on care, but there are still lots of things you can do to help with your loved one’s care. If you’re not sure what kinds of things you can do, here are 4 ideas that can make you an even better long-distance caregiver.
#1: Research Local Services
There may be local services available to your senior family member that can ease the work of other family caregivers or improve their quality of life. One place you can start is with the senior center in the older adult’s community. They can tell you what kinds of services and opportunities they offer. For example, many of them offer clubs and classes for seniors that can give them a way to socialize and make friends. They may also be able to put you in touch with professional caregiver agencies that can take on some of the work currently being shouldered by family members. Professional caregivers can do many of the things family caregivers can do, including housecleaning, making meals, assisting with personal care, and reminding seniors to take medications.
#2: Prepare a Contact List
There’s a good chance there are a lot of people involved in the care of your older family member, from doctors and nurses, to family caregivers, down to the pharmacist. A complete list of contact information can be a great tool to make caregiving easier. To make the list, write down the names of everyone involved, including family caregivers, doctors, home care agencies and providers, and anyone else who provides some kind of service to the senior. Include the role they play in the senior’s care, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. Make sure that one copy of the list is posted where it is easily visible to all caregivers. Also, provide each family caregiver with a copy of the list.
#3: Offer Emotional Support
Sometimes just having someone to listen can make a person feel better. Long-distance caregivers can be a compassionate listener to both the older adult. Having a chronic illness or disability is difficult. Knowing that they can call you to talk when they’re feeling down can help. In addition to being there as an emotional support for the older adult, letting other family caregivers know they can call you when they are feeling frustrated or down can give them a place to vent.
#4: Keep Important Paperwork Organized
Sometimes seniors have difficulty taking care of the administrative-type tasks that life requires. They may have trouble managing insurance forms, finances, health information, and legal paperwork. You can help by gathering all of those together next time you visit (or have another caregiver mail them to you) and putting them in an easy-to-use file or folder.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Los Gatos, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.