Essential Advice for Long-Distance Caregivers
Guest post by: Claire Wentz
Photo by Pexels
If you live far away from a senior loved one who needs your care, you’ve probably run into all kinds of problems trying to fulfill your role while juggling the demands of your personal life. While it would be a lot easier to care for your loved one if they lived next door, this is not always possible. Fortunately, there are several ways to provide effective and meaningful care to your senior loved one from a distance. Health-monitoring technology, communication tools, and delivery services will make life easier for both you and your loved one, so take advantage of all the resources available to you!
Consider Shared Housing
It’s common to live with roommates when we’re young, but roommates can also be beneficial in our later years. HomeAdvisor explains that shared housing can provide several advantages for seniors who are intent on aging in place. For one thing, splitting their household expenses with someone else can help them get by on a fixed retirement income. More importantly, however, having someone else in the house will be a valuable source of companionship and support. A senior roommate can help your loved one avoid household accidents, loneliness, and the loss of independence due to mobility limitations.
Shop for Food and Supplies Online
Today, you can order almost anything online. This makes it easy to do your loved one’s shopping from anywhere and have your orders delivered right to their doorstep. You can order groceries, basic household items, and even prescriptions for your senior loved one. For example, Costco delivers to most metropolitan areas in the United States and offers same-day delivery of fresh groceries on any food orders over $35. If your loved one is having trouble cooking, you could even sign them up for a regular meal-delivery service to ensure they maintain a healthy diet when you can’t be there to help them in the kitchen.
Use Technology to Monitor Their Health
There’s nothing worse than worrying about the well-being of your loved one day in and day out. Set your mind at ease by investing in some health-monitoring tools. For example, GrandCare recommends home-monitoring solutions like medication reminders, door alarms, help buttons, and remote activity sensors to ensure your loved one is following their normal routines. You can even have your senior loved one wear health-monitoring technology that will alert you if their vitals provide an unusual reading.
Stay Connected with Video Chat
Keeping in touch with your senior loved one is incredibly important for monitoring their well-being and preventing loneliness. Instead of relying on phone calls to stay connected, help your loved one get set up with video chat so you can engage them with regular video calls. It’s much easier to assess how your loved one is doing when you can see their face! If your loved one doesn’t use computers, tablets, or smartphones, consider buying them a unique device that they can use just for video calls. According to The Spectrum, some of the most user-friendly video-calling devices include the ViewClix, GrandPad, and Echo Show.
Don’t Forget About Your Needs
Caring for a loved one is stressful, especially if you live far away. Try to be mindful of your own health and well-being during this difficult time. Some essential ways to take care of yourself include accepting help from others, eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and saying “no” to things you don’t have the time or energy for. It’s important to find ways to cope with the stress that you’re experiencing, so try different relaxation techniques until you find what works best for you. Even something as simple as taking time out from your hectic life for a walk in the woods can be incredibly therapeutic.
Long-distance caregivers have a very tough job, so don’t go at it alone! From online shopping and grocery delivery to health-monitoring technology and video chat services, you have a number of tools at your disposal to ease stress and ensure your loved one receives the high-quality care they deserve.
About the author: Claire is a former home health nurse and recognizes that our aging population means many more people will become senior caregivers over the years.