Saturday, April 11, 2020

How to Care for a Loved One from Afar



As caregivers, we want to do our best for our senior loved ones. When we’re stuck living far apart, however, it can feel impossible to give them the care they need. Fortunately, there are many things you can do for your loved one no matter where you are.

Thanks to our ever-connected world, you can give them the gift of care despite all the distance between you. It’s hard to be far apart, but thanks to technology, we can be together no matter where we are. Here are a few great ways to be a caregiver from afar:

Help Around the House

When you're an in-person caregiver, it's easy to help your loved one with household chores and maintenance. Being far away obviously makes this more challenging, but that doesn't mean you're at a loss. Making slight home modifications and outsourcing services can be great ways to help your senior loved one get the assistance they need.

For example, is your loved one’s laundry room set up in the basement? Navigating stairs gets trickier (and more dangerous) with age, and lugging laundry up and down the stairs can be risky. To eliminate this hazard, find a way to have their washer and dryer installed on the first floor. You can also install grab bars in the bathrooms, add improved lighting and remove trip hazards like rugs and cords.

When it comes to their home’s exterior, is your senior overwhelmed by spring and summer lawn maintenance and watering? In addition to hiring a lawn care service, consider having sprinklers installed, so they have one less thing to manage. In Oklahoma City, it averages around $2,644 to have this kind of system installed. You can easily get online quotes from local firms to do the work.

Besides hiring services to help with nominal tasks, consider setting your loved one up with grocery delivery. This can be especially handy if they no longer drive and primarily use public transportation. Most grocery stores these days offer delivery, and you can order everything your loved one needs online and have it sent straight to their door.

Stay in Touch

Long-distance caregivers often worry about their loved ones feeling lonely, as older people often suffer from social isolation. Fortunately, staying in touch in a variety of ways gives you and your loved one a sense of connection, and helps prevent them from feeling like they’re all alone. Phone calls, emails, and letters are all excellent ways to stay in touch. Also, if your loved one doesn’t have a smartphone, consider setting your loved one up with a tablet or video chat system so you can see each other while you talk. This gives you both the chance to have a face-to-face connection, and it can help you see for yourself if there are any problems like a disheveled appearance or a messy home.

Get Allies Nearby

Finally, staying in touch with your loved one’s neighbors and nearby friends is an excellent tool for the long-distance caregiver. Those who see your loved one in person and even on a regular basis can help determine problems early on that you might miss from afar. Ask your loved one to give your phone number to the neighbors or some friends, and touch base with them regularly. They may be able to clue you in if your loved one is experiencing property neglect or other signs that something bigger is going on.

Caring for someone from a distance can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to make it work. You will be amazed at everything you can do for your loved one without being able to physically be there. With the right game plan, you can be the caregiver you want to be, no matter where you are.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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