Distance can make caregiving communication among family members challenging, however with the “connected” world in which we now live, keeping family members informed and staying in touch with your loved one can be made easier.
Big Decisions Require Open Communication
Decisions about finances, handling expenses, identifying care, coordination of health care appointments and scheduling care are topics that many family members must have when caring for aging parents or any loved one who needs care. Whether you are caregiving from a distance or a sibling or another family member is the main caregiver, this can be an emotional journey as you try to keep family members informed and make decisions as a family. Below are a few tips to help families stay connected while caring for a parent or loved one.
Caregiving Communication Facilitators
Utilize video chat. Video chat platforms like Skype and FaceTime allow you to see your family and provide updates or just have that important face-to-face time. If you video chat with your loved one, this will also allow you to engage and monitor any changes in their behavior or appearance that may be concerning.
Keep a journal. Note questions, keep a record of conversations, decisions made, concerns and action items. This will serve as an excellent resource to refer back to during family meetings and doctor’s appointments.
Text, IM, Email
Text messaging, instant messaging, and emails are a great, easy way to stay in touch. Send a quick text message or IM after a doctor’s appointment to keep the line of communication open. Let them know that it went well or what next steps are needed. This will help to ease the mind of family members who can’t be at the doctor’s appointment and serves as a written reminder of what has been discussed and what plans have been made.
Routines and Schedules
Identify a routine time for connecting. Juggling schedules and identifying a standard date and time to connect with a phone call or video chat can be hard. Schedule a regular, repeatable time that everyone can plan to attend.
Try keeping a spreadsheet. Creating a spreadsheet of appointments, medication management and finances can help keep track of all that your loved one’s needs. Share this document with family members easily via a platform such as Google Docs.
Online and Mobile Caregiver Apps
Look into online, collaborative, caregiving communication tools. A wealth of resources are available online for family members. There are websites that offer health record management, appointment trackers, group messaging and medication reminders. There are also apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone for easy access on the go. Click any of the logos above to get more info.
If you are caring for a loved one and would like to learn more about our caregiving services, contact Caregivers by WholeCare today at 615-298-9201.