Tips for Long Distance Care
Building a trusted, experienced team and clear communication channels are your top priorities.
Overcoming the challenges of long distance care – Pre-pandemic long-distance caregivers already understand the difficulties of caring and supporting a loved one from afar. Add the complexity of COVID and long distance care can be even more daunting. For many long distance caregivers, the biggest challenge they face is staying informed and assured that their loved one needing care is in capable hands. That’s why building a trusted, experienced team with clear communication channels are among your top priorities.
Our tips to building and managing an aging-in-place long distance care team.
Having good information channels and the legal authority to make financial and health-care decisions is even more important for those managing long distance care for a loved one. Here is a list of tips to consider as a long distance care provider.
- Financial Plan – Create a plan with your loved one on how to pay for home care and everyday expenses. Consider savings and investments, community resources, as well as Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.
- Access to Information – Ask whether your loved one can sign forms or make necessary calls to give doctors, hospitals and insurers permission to share information with you or another trusted family member. Don’t forget things like banks and utilities.
- Legal – If your loved one hasn’t yet designated a durable power of attorney for health care and financial decisions, ask whether you or some other trusted person can take on that role. If your loved one has no power of attorney and becomes physically or cognitively unable to choose one, the courts will step in.
- Emergencies – Can someone else get into the home in an urgent situation? Is an extra set of house or car keys stashed somewhere? Does the property have a burglar alarm? Keep a friendly neighbor’s phone number handy, and ask the neighbor to do the same with yours.
- Build Your Team – Beyond medical professionals, it’s important to reach out to friends, family, community, and caregiver services when needed. Be sure to determine roles. Ask what tasks team members are willing and able to do, consider professional caregiver services for other tasks or that may require advanced training.
- Care Coordinator – A local care manager who can supply local knowledge and help with caregiving logistics, such as a reputable caregiving professional, or aging life care manager . These professionals are often licensed caregivers, nurses or social workers, that cab be valuable mediators or sounding boards when family members disagree on care decisions.
- Make the Most of Visits – When you can manage one, come with a list of things you need to know or discuss. Schedule plenty of time with your loved one, but also for face-to-face appointments related to their well-being. Meet current and potential service providers as well as interview home care personal. Note where new help might be needed, safety equipment, or if any home repairs are needed. Does your loved one appear to be having trouble doing certain chores such as laundry or grocery shopping? Help with tasks while you’re there, but also evaluate whether you need to find someone local to assist with day-to-day tasks.
- Red Flags – Look for signs of abuse. Look for signs of theft and financial abnormalities. Watch for red flags of physical or emotional mistreatment, such as bruises, unexplained injuries or an abrupt change in personality. Be concerned if your loved one mentions someone you’ve never met who visits often.
- Establish Clear Communication – Stay in the loop by communicating regularly with your loved one and you long distance care team, whether by traditional phone calls, or organization apps, group emails or social tools like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
- Make use of technology – With your loved one’s permission (or by legal proxy’s) put tools in place such as video monitors, wearable activity trackers, remote door locks to prevent wandering, if the care recipient has dementia, and even electronic pill dispensers that can alert you when someone has taken medications.
The pandemic has brought us new long distance care tools that are paving the way for a better remote care experience.
Aging in place is preferred by more senior adults for many reasons including comfort, familiarly, and dignity that comes from independent living. So it’s no surprise that now, with caregivers wrestle with community environments, for fear of exposing their loved ones to the coronavirus, aging in place is even more appealing.
Forced from necessity, new virtual caregiving tools can make long distance care management much easier. While it’s true that there is no substitute for face-to-face time with someone you love, you may not be willing or able to travel because of your own health or logistical concerns or for fear of exposing your loved one to the illness.
Technology advances are a blessing for the remote caregiver. There are so many more tools than even just a few years ago. Using smart devices to set up fall prevention, and medication management and other handy services will help you “put eyes on” your loved one. Communication platforms like Slack, Google Chat and Microsoft Teams, among others, allow your care team to work in a cohesive way.
Perhaps a positive outcome of the COVID pandemic is the emerging technology allowing living and working remotely that is helping to make it easier than ever for family caregivers to manage long distance care. When the worst of the COVID is behind us, these new technologies will have established new set of tools for communicating and advocating for our loved ones, whether they’re across town, across the country, or across the world. This new technology, along with a trustworthy long distance care provider, will help to ensure your long distance care experience goes smoothly.
When you or a loved one need an extra hand, count on us to be there for you when you need us. For a FREE, no-hassle consultation, contact us.
CIRCLE OF CARE, LLC
Cheri Platte is a home care expert and a professional consultant for family caregivers. She has been a compassionate advocate for the elderly for over 20 years now. As the Managing Director for Circle of Care, she focuses on providing excellent and high-quality home care solutions for families who care for their loved ones.
Her mission is to educate the public on the benefits of home care and home health, assist families in developing individual care plans, and help them plan for the advanced stages of aging, emphasizing on what matters most in terms of quality of life for the loved one. The company culture enables Circle of Care to hire and retain hundreds of professional care team members who are skilled and compassionate and produces a word-of-mouth referral network in the Southern California communities they serve. They are trusted by families, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospitals, nursing homes, senior communities, Long Term Care Specialists and other esteemed members of the healthcare industry. When not helping families in need, Cheri spends time mentoring other business owners and rising professionals plus volunteering at various organizations.