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Caring for a senior loved one who lives out of state can be stressful and exhausting, and it can also bring about a fair amount of guilt. You may feel bad about not being able to visit as often as you’d like, or you might be worried about your loved one’s safety and comfort when you aren’t there to ensure they’re taken care of. Being a caregiver is hard work, and when you have to do it long distance, the job is even harder. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful; there are many things you can do to ensure that your loved one is well taken care of no matter how much distance separates you.
One of the most important things you can do to help your loved one in your absence is to make sure their home is safe and comfortable. Aging-in-place or making the move to an assisted living facility is a crucial part of a senior’s life plan, and the more you can do to help them remain at home, the better off they’ll be when it comes to being independent. This might involve making modifications to their existing living situation, such as updating the bathroom or installing a ramp to help them get up the front steps without the risk of a fall. You can also get some assistance from technology, which will make it easier for your loved one to keep in touch with you and their friends. Here are a few things to consider when you care for a loved one from afar.
Get to know their doctors
It can be extremely helpful to get to know your loved one’s doctors and other healthcare professionals. Even if they are healthy at the moment, you may need to have their doctor’s info in the future, and if you’re already acquainted with them and understand your loved one’s health needs, things will go a lot more smoothly when that time comes. Make it a point to introduce yourself during your next visit, or send the doctor an email letting them know that you’re available should they need anything.
Help your loved one remain safe and comfortable
Aging-in-place is a means of keeping your loved one’s home safe and comfortable so that they may remain there as long as possible rather than have to move into an assisted living facility. There are many ways you can go about this, from installing a grab bar and shower seat in the bathroom for fall prevention to taking precautions against your visually-impaired loved one making a dangerous mistake in the kitchen by adding braille labels to important items. If your senior loved one is on a tight budget, help them look online for grants or loans specifically for home modifications.
Look for services in their area
When you can’t be there with your loved one, it’s important that you can rely on their friends and local services to help them with their daily needs. Get to know their neighbors--exchange information if possible, and stay in touch with them--and look online for free ride services, church groups, and healthy meal-delivery services that can help your loved one live their best life. You might also look for a homecare service that will help your loved one with daily tasks, such as grocery shopping or using their computer.
Keep them connected
It’s important for seniors to be able to stay connected to their friends and loved ones, so consider helping them find a user-friendly smartphone and downloading some apps that will help them stay in touch. These days, there are even apps that will help seniors remember to take their medication or where to find their car after a day of shopping! The right tech can make a world of difference.
Caring for a long-distance loved one takes some getting used to, and it won’t be without its problems even when you make an effort to streamline things. However, there are many things you can do to help keep your senior loved one safe, healthy, and happy no matter how far away you are.
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