If you have senior loved ones that you provide primary care for from afar, you probably already know how stressful it is to make sure their needs are taken care of at all times. Living miles away, sometimes even in a different state or time zone, can take a toll when you’re trying to ensure that seniors have the best care and support around them and that their daily needs are met.
For many seniors, it’s essential to maintain daily exercise and stay social, two factors that can have a major influence on their well-being. Having the ability to stay mobile and vital means being able to battle depression, stress, and other health-related conditions, yet it can be difficult to get motivated when loneliness sets in. Help your loved ones stay social and
keep up their friendships so that they’ll have a support system even when you can’t be around.
Here are some of the best ways to help your senior loved one from afar.
1. Get organized
Being a caregiver means you need to be responsible for many different aspects of your loved one’s life, so it’s important to get organized and keep everything related to his or her care together in one place. Paperwork, keys, a list of important phone numbers, and anything else you might need when considering your loved one’s well-being should go into a folder so schedule-a-consultation-with-an-elder-care-attorney you can easily access it all whenever you need to.
It’s also critical for both your and your senior’s peace of mind that you have affairs in order. This doesn’t just include immediate needs, but long-term concerns as well.
It’s important that you and your senior have an honest and explicit conversation about the future and your senior’s wishes in case of emergency, sickness, or even death. If you leave this discussion until it’s too late, you may find yourself in a stressful and difficult situation.
2. Help your loved one make friends
Becoming social, and staying social, can be hard for seniors, so help your loved ones find a book club, gardening club, or workout group to join in their community. Living alone can be difficult, so it’s helpful if there’s a group of people they can connect to and spend quality time with on a weekly basis.
3. Help them stay mobile
For seniors who don’t drive or have limited mobility, getting around to doctor appointments and to the grocery store can be daunting. It’s important to help seniors find a safe means of transportation through a local senior center or community service and to make sure they have the phone number for the service to pick them up when they’re finished and ready to go home.
4. Stay involved
The best way to help your loved ones is to stay involved in their life. Talk on the phone often and help them set up a smartphone or other device that will allow you to have video chats. Take an interest not only in their doctor visits and checkups, but in their daily activities as well. Help seniors feel as though their lives have meaning and importance. You can find some helpful resources for seniors here.
If your loved ones are having difficulty with getting around, remembering things, or taking care of their home, it may be time to think about downsizing. This can be an overwhelming process for some seniors, especially if the best option is to move into an assisted living facility. Help your loved ones decide if they’d rather live somewhere that will give them access to medical care in case of emergency or just move into a smaller home, and make sure to talk about the pros and cons for each.
Of course, downsizing isn’t easy because seniors must deal with paring down belongings and saying goodbye to some memories. Help your senior face this challenging time by offering to come and stay for a few days to help make arrangements, clean, and pack. For some tips on how to make downsizing easier, head to Redfin.com.
When looking after your loved ones from a distance, it’s important to give them as much support as possible, get their affairs in order, and encourage exercise and social activity. But remember to take care of yourself, too.
Thinking about someone else’s needs all the time can take a toll and can leave you feeling drained and stressed out, so find time to relax and pamper yourself now and then.