Living away from relatives can be difficult at the best of times, but what happens when someone falls ill, or an elderly loved one requires caregiving? If you suspect someone you love needs assistance around the home, it can be hard to alleviate feelings of guilt about living at a distance. If you have other siblings or relatives in the area, now’s the time to lean on them. Bear in mind that you can be a successful caregiver from afar, you just need to research your options beforehand.
However challenging long-distance care might be, there are ways to support a loved one in need. Here are four caregiving tips to keep in mind.
Use Resources and Research Your Options
Looking for options is difficult at the best of times, however, when there’s distance between you and your loved one, the difficulty level only increases. Rather than rush into one option, only to regret your decision, make sure to consider all available possibilities. If you’re finding the process overwhelming, then home healthcare services can offer guidance on paperwork, insurance plans and how the process works, lessening any stress you may be feeling. Make sure you use all the resources available to you, so that you and your family can make an informed decision.
Keep the Communication Flowing
If you suspect an elderly friend or relative is struggling to live independently, it’s important to stay in touch. You can communicate directly over the phone or via Skype, but it also helps to have someone close by who can feedback to you. Perhaps your loved one has a friend or neighbor who can check in on them now and then? Leave your contact details with someone local in case of emergencies, and try to enlist your friend or relative in a support group with others in their situation.
Schedule Regular Visits
Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t visit as often as you’d like. We all have lives and jobs that make it difficult for us to travel, and your relatives will understand this dilemma. You should still try to schedule visits as regularly as you can, though, and tell your loved one exactly when you’ll be coming. Mark it on their calendar, so your relative knows they’ll be seeing you soon, even if they get confused about dates and times. Just knowing you’re visiting will make them feel less lonely.
Don’t Make It All About Caregiving
When you do see or speak to your loved one, try to avoid talking about care all the time. Remember, that person still has interests and a personality, so you should try to bring that out in them as much as possible. Suggest you see a movie together or take them for a walk to the local park; you could even take an art class together. When you speak on the phone, don’t only ask how they have been eating and if they have been taking their medication. Your loved one wants other things from you besides concern. You need to know those things, of course, but don’t forget to ask about any books they may be reading or inquire about their hobbies.