Being a Caregiver from a Distance | Downloadable Guide

Being a Caregiver from a Distance – Downloadable Guide

March 29, 2024

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While being physically present as full-time caregivers may not be feasible, there are still meaningful ways to support aging loved ones from a distance. Here’s a checklist of tasks and activities that can help:

 

  1. Regular Communication:
    • Phone Calls or Video Chats: Regularly check in with your elderly relative via phone calls or video chats. These interactions provide emotional support and allow you to assess their well-being.
    • Schedule Virtual Visits: Set up virtual visits using platforms like Zoom or Skype. Seeing each other’s faces can boost morale and reduce feelings of isolation.
    • Virtual Visit Assessments: What may be a mundane Zoom call to us may be a priceless opportunity to get an accurate idea of your beloved senior’s situation. From cognitive abilities to their medication situation, quick and easy assessments can help you gage exactly how much, and what type, of help is needed nearby.
    • Know Their Network: Your loved one’s social life and other regular activities, like doctors’ appointments or weekly card games, are critical to know if an emergency arises. Make a list of close friends’ and contacts’ names and phone numbers, and any other close associates who could check in if needed.
      • Reciprocate: Give your loved one’s contacts your information, too, so they can reach you quickly in an emergency.
  2. Health and Medical Support:
    • Coordinate Medical Appointments: Help schedule and manage medical appointments. Remind your loved one about upcoming visits and follow-ups.
    • Medication Management:
      • Medication Reminders: Set up reminders for medication schedules. Use phone alarms or medication reminder apps, like Medisafe.
      • Refill Prescriptions: Ensure that prescriptions are refilled on time.
      • Monitor Health Changes: Ask about any new symptoms or health changes during your conversations. At any time you think it may be helpful, do a quick health assessment.
      • Simplify: Juggling multiple prescriptions leaves room for error, which can be dangerous. Check out Accupacrx, which offers pre-sorted, pre-packaged meds for zero confusion.
  3. Safety and Home Environment:
    • Home Safety Assessment:
      • Virtual Home Tour: Request your relative to give you a virtual tour of their home. Identify potential safety hazards (e.g., loose rugs, cluttered pathways, inadequate lighting).
      • Discuss Solutions: Suggest safety improvements, such as installing grab bars, removing tripping hazards, or improving lighting.
    • Emergency Preparedness:
      • Emergency Contacts: Compile a list of emergency contacts (neighbors, local authorities, nearby family members) and share it with your relative.
      • Emergency Plan: Discuss emergency plans, including what to do during power outages, severe weather, or medical emergencies.
  4. Daily Living Assistance:
    • Meal Planning and Delivery:
      • Meal Services: Research local meal delivery services or meal kits that your relative can use. Meals on Wheels may service your loved one’s area.
      • Grocery Shopping Assistance: Arrange for grocery delivery or help them order groceries online.
    • Household Chores:
      • Virtual Guidance: Provide reminders and instructions for household tasks (e.g., laundry, cleaning, organizing). If you’re unavailable, use a service like Snoozester.
      • Hire Local Help: Explore hiring local assistance for tasks that require physical presence.
  5. Emotional and Social Support:
    • Encourage Hobbies and Interests: Remind your relative to engage in activities they enjoy (e.g., reading, gardening, painting).
    • Connect with Community Resources:
      • Senior Centers: Research local senior centers or community programs that offer virtual activities or social events.
      • Online Support Groups: Find online support groups related to their interests or health conditions.
      • Be Their Digital Guide: The most important step is getting your senior set up for success on a digital device. Once that’s done, you can help them find like-minded people and groups online!
  6. Financial and Legal Matters:
    • Financial Planning:
      • Budgeting: Help your relative create a budget and manage expenses.
      • Bill Payment Assistance: Assist with bill payments or set up automatic payments.
    • Legal Documents:
      • Power of Attorney: Ensure your relative has a durable power of attorney for healthcare and finances.
      • Living Will and Advance Directives: Discuss end-of-life wishes and ensure that the 5 most important legal documents for every senior are in place.

Remember that emotional support and regular communication are essential. Encourage your other family members or friends who live closer to their elderly relatives to help, even with little errands from time to time. By working together, they can provide comprehensive care even from a distance.

 

Other helpful resources, worksheets, and checklists for senior safety:

https://ouragingparents.net/checklists-worksheets/

https://www.inhomecare.com/senior-care-needs-assessment-checklist/

https://www.carepatron.com/templates/elderly-home-safety-checklist

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/caregiving/caregiver-worksheets