Helpful Hints For Long Distance Caregiving

Published July 10, 2015 in Caregiving  By  Covered Caregiver Information Desk
Long Distance Caregiving

Living far away from a loved one can be quite the challenge and providing care as one would provide if they were in the same household or town is not the same. The primary caregiver is left with feelings of helplessness and can likely self-doubt their commitment to their loved one.

Fortunately, there are a number of options for care from a distance that can minimize gaps in care and guilt-driven anxieties towards helping your loved one.

A person can remain up-to-date on the care of their loved one, even when they are far away, by following these tips:

1.  Conduct a Family Meeting

The more family members who are involved in the care of the loved one in question, the better. If there is opportunity to include members who are not able to make the meeting in person, video chat and/or conference calling would serve a great benefit. This is a prime opportunity to share feelings, set goals and decide on a course of treatment. In addition, duties must be delegated among family members and the loved one at the heart of the matter should be included in the decision making process.

2. Organize Data

All important documents, files and information pertaining to the person’s condition: medication, medical personnel, doctor’s appointments and the like should be organized in one place for safekeeping. Insurance informationand account numbers should also be included in this data package.

3. Do Your Research

This means researching the ailments that your loved one is experiencing. This makes speaking to their doctors much easier, whether it is you, a family member or a caregiver you’ve sought to provide additional help.

Have the patient sign a release or a healthcare power of attorney that allows you to discuss the ins and outs of their condition with their private practitioner.  This can go a long way when an emergency occurs and you know the wishes of your loved one when they are not able to communicate.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Whether it’s asking their friends to check in on them from time to time, or you need a professional’s opinion, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you require it. More than that, caregiving agencies and services are a plenty and are specifically recognized for excelling in situations of long distance caring. Seeking supportive help, even if it is occasional, can have tremendous benefits for your loved one.

5. Remain Up To Date and Plan Accordingly

The future is typically uncertain when you have a loved one that is in need of medical care, in particular with conditions that are affecting them chronically. This may require of you to think ahead financially and if in the midst of a career how to balance your vacation days, not only for yourself but to find time to visit.

Be sure to set aside time each week so that you can stay in touch and remain up to date on the latest updates regarding their condition and medical status.

When you do have time to visit your loved one, make the most of the moments you are able to spend with them: Create a “to-do-list” of anything that can improve their day-to-day, accompany them to their doctor’s appointments, check their person for signs of additional issues, and place value and quality in the time you are with them.

Feelings of guilt as a long distance caregiver are commonplace. Regularly remind yourself that you are doing your absolute best to help your loved one. Empower those feelings by joining a support group if you need to confide in others or be an inspiration to those who are drowning in guilt. These helpful hints will allow you to be a strong advocate for your loved one and even for yourself, no matter the distance.