When you live far away from a family member, trying to be a caregiver can be a hard job. It is challenging, but it’s not impossible to accomplish.
First of all, preparation is the key. By preplanning with others involved, you are prepared for emergency situations, financial issues and making sure your family member gets the care he or she needs. Also if another member of the family is the primary caregiver because of the distance and cost of travel between you and a loved one, see what you can do to help with carrying some of the task of caregiving. Maybe you can be the contact person for all medical insurance issues. Or maybe give a hand with managing finances; these are just a few suggestions for helping to be a caregiver.
Plan to visit your loved one and see how he or she is doing and what additional help you may be able to offer. Spend enough time with your loved one so you can evaluate the situation freely. Is she or he not taking baths because safety bars aren’t installed? Can your loved one turn the stove off and on okay, or are the knobs too difficult for them to manage? Is everything that he or she needs accessible? Or does your loved one have to struggle to reach it? Go through all the rooms in the home and look at it through your loved one’s eyes. See that everything is safe, and that the senior can move around the rooms with confidence?
Ask your loved one to sign a medical release form, if he or she is okay with it, so you have access to medical information. Get the doctors’ names and phone numbers, any medical insurance information, and a medication list of current medications and anything else medically informative you can think of that is important. You now have the information needed for a medical emergency even if you are a distance away.
For finances, find out if your loved one needs help managing money or paying bills. Ask about sources of income, investment accounts and monthly bills. Inquire about checking and savings accounts, expenses and spending money. Get the names and phone numbers of accountants, tax preparers and any other people who are involved with your loved ones finances. If you are going to handle your loved ones finances, then get all the information needed so you can keep current.
Finally, see what services are available for additional help. A local meals-on-wheels program can bring hot, nutritious meals right to the home during weekdays. Senior centers are great for activities to get your loved one out of the house and to socialize. You can hire a home care agency that will do light housekeeping, meal preparation and which also transports your relative to and from appointments if needed.
Even though distance may separate you from your loved one, you can still provide caregiver help. With some foresight and planning you can continue to help keep your loved one’s life running smoothly.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from caregiving services near Alamo CA, contact the caregivers at Hillendale Home Care. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (925) 948-8280 for more information.