Guest Post: Caregiving Long-Distance

Caregiving Long-Distance: How To Ensure Your Loved One Is Safe And Happy

By Claire Wentz

Caregiving is a big job. When you’re in charge of a senior loved one from afar, it can be even more difficult to find the best ways to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. Even if you’re able to visit now and then, there are many things to consider when it comes to their daily needs and preventing safety issues when you can’t be there. From their diet and exercise routine to keeping up with doctor’s appointments and getting rides when they don’t feel comfortable driving, there are several ways you may need to help your senior loved one with daily activities.

Fortunately, advances in technology have come so far that we can now stay in touch with our loved ones with ease and even contribute to their lives in a meaningful way from afar. By utilizing all the tools and resources available to you, you’ll be able to make sure your loved one is well taken care of even when you can’t be near. Here are a few things to consider when you’re in charge of a senior loved one’s well-being.

Use tech to your advantage

There are many different types of technology that can help you stay in touch with and help your senior loved one, from apps that allow you to video chat to websites that will let you order groceries and have them delivered. Utilizing these tools will make it much easier for you to take excellent care of your loved one, and may even help prevent loneliness and safety issues.

If possible, find a tablet or smartphone for your loved one and help set it up. If they’re looking for a phone, make sure it’s reliable and easy for them to use. Cell phones, in general, are a convenient way for seniors to stay in touch with family and friends, but there are a few options especially geared toward seniors: the LG Exalt LTE, for example, is a basic flip phone that features a keypad with easy-to-press buttons for dialing, and the screen text is a large font size. Another great option is the Samsung Galaxy J3 V 3rd Gen; its home screen lets your loved one easily access the functions and features that they use most often. Once your loved one has picked out a phone and gained a basic knowledge of how to be more tech-savvy, they’ll be more independent when they’re alone.

 Stay on top of their healthcare needs

Medicare is hugely beneficial for most seniors, but it can be extremely challenging to find the right plan and understand all its parts. There are also regular changes that occur to different plans, which affect the individual’s premium and even the doctors they can see, so it’s important for you to keep up with their coverage. You can refer to a provider like Aetna and learn more about the various plans available; getting familiar with the details, including the benefits and costs, can help you inform your loved one when changes are coming up so they’ll be prepared.

Talk to their neighbors and friends

 Staying in touch with your loved one’s neighbors and friends is a great way to help them when you can’t be there. Not only can these individuals keep an eye on things and help with light chores around the house, they can be your point of contact should you be unable to reach your loved one. The next time you visit, make it a point to talk to the neighbors and exchange information; this way, they can also get in touch with you in the event of an emergency.

Help them stay active and independent

When it comes to staying active and mobile, many seniors need to make small changes to their homes to prevent any safety issues. This might mean adding a grab bar or motorized toilet seat lift in the bathroom, getting rid of throw rugs and decluttering to remove trip hazards, or adding more lighting to make the home more accessible for a senior with a vision impairment. Making these changes will not only keep your loved one safe, they’ll also give you peace of mind.

 Long-distance caregiving can be tough, but it doesn’t need to be stressful for either you or your loved one. With a little preparation and some creative thinking, you can ensure that the senior in your life is well taken care of and happy every day.

Jessica Walker