Halifax and South Shore (Change Location)

May 22, 2021

Long-Distance Caregiving

Senior using his phone

Visiting on holidays and talking regularly on the phone might suffice if Mom and Dad are doing well, but as they age you start to worry. Are they really doing as well as they say they are? What if they need additional care but you’re too far away to help?

Long-distance caregiving may present some challenges, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If moving closer to the senior or having the senior move closer to you is not an option, the following tips may make your long-distance caregiving easier:

  • Get to know the senior's neighbors when you visit - identify one or two trustworthy neighbors that can look in on your elderly relative - call them once a week for an update.
  • Get to know the local mail carrier - if he/she sees that the mail has not been brought in, he can alert you or a neighbor. Some post offices have special programs set up to handle this type of "elder watch" issue, so make sure to sign up your relative.
  • Get to know your relative's friends - they can be eyes and ears when you aren't around.
  • Create a list of your senior's medical issues/medications, doctor's names, and legal documents in case you need to access them in an emergency.
  • Keep a copy of your relatives Yellow Pages at your own house or bookmark his/her local Yellow Pages on your web browser (www.yellowpages.com) so you have access to their local business numbers, etc. in his/her area.
  • Investigate senior services in the area, such as transportation, community centers, professional care/companionship, etc.
  • Set up professional caregiving servicesto provide daily or occasional assistance for everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping, medication reminders, running errands, meal preparation, etc. One of the most important roles of this professional caregiver is to provide companionship, as well as be a regular visitor who can monitor any issues that may be cropping up (health, safety, etc.). This person is the "eyes and ears" for the family who lives far away.

Putting this list into action can ease your long-distance caregiving stress and provide support and care for your loved one.

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