Living at a distance from a senior loved one can make it difficult to know if he or she is truly ok, or if help is needed. As a matter of fact, many adult children of elderly parents don’t even realize that Mom or Dad need help until they travel to visit them in person, such as during the holidays. If you are a family caregiver living far from your aging loved one, it’s crucial to have a plan in place for emergencies and the potential for needed care.
The Nashville home care professionals at Caregivers By WholeCare have put together the following helpful suggestions:
When it’s not possible to simply drive across town to assist a senior loved one, it’s essential to hold family discussions surrounding the “What Ifs” that might arise, such as:
- Living preferences based on severity and who is involved. Role play some scenarios; for example, a fall resulting in a broken leg which may require rehabilitative care.
- How will you determine when “it’s time” for a change? What will that look like?
- Financial considerations in caregiving, such as how much time family members can afford to miss from work to provide needed care. Are there outside financial resources that might be available?
- Advance directives for making tough decisions: be sure all paperwork such as this is in order, and keep a copy with you.
When you’re at a distance from your senior loved one every day, it might be tempting to put off the sometimes uncomfortable task of assessing health and wellbeing, wanting to focus instead on simply enjoying each other’s company. However, it is important to assess on a routine basis how he or she is doing.
- Obtain the name and contact information for the nurse working with the senior’s primary care physician, and maintain communication with that person.
- Make sure there is a signed HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at each of your loved one’s medical facilities so you can communicate freely with each doctor. Keep copies for yourself as well.
- Call your elderly loved ones often to check in and help them resolve or prevent any problems.
- Keep a list of the informal resources in the senior’s neighborhood: neighbors, church friends, other local family members who can be part of his or her support network. Be sure each person on that list knows how to reach you as well.
Determine When It’s Time for an In-Person Visit
Concerning issues are bound to arise, and they could come at a moment’s notice. It’s not feasible to travel home for every issue, so determine in advance when you will travel and when to use other resources for assistance.
- Determine if this is a real medical or care crisis. As part of your decision-making, consult the senior’s doctor, social worker, or nurse for information and to get their opinions on whether you need to be there in person.
- Is someone else available locally to take care of the problem, or to check out the situation for you?
- It’s perfectly fine to visit to put your mind at ease as well. If remaining at home and worrying will be less productive for you, then it may be helpful to go.
Caregivers By WholeCare Can Help
An in-home caregiver, such as Caregivers By WholeCare provides, can provide long-distance family members with a greater sense of peace and reassurance. Our specially trained and experienced Tennessee caregivers:
- Assess the situation
- Identify problems and resources to help
- Keep an eye on overall health, activity levels, nutrition, etc.
- Arrange for additional services and assistance as needed
- Coordinate with financial, legal and medical providers
- Stay in touch regularly with family members
- And much more
If you have a senior loved one in need of home care in the Nashville area, call on Caregivers By WholeCare at (615) 298-9201. We treat your family like our own.