How Do I Provide Long-Distance Caregiving?

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Long-distance caregiving presents its own challenges.

Your parents are aging.

Whether their bodies are degrading mentally or physically, they may need a little more help.

Unfortunately, you live out of town.

According to a recent AARP article titled “Long-Distance Caregiving: 5 Key Steps to Providing Care From Afar,” caregiving brings with it several challenges.

Long-distance caregiving is not simple.
Providing long-distance caregiving to a parent is possible.

These challenges can be magnified in long-distance caregiving.

How so?

Long-distance caregivers spend about double what those who live nearby would spend.

Why is this?

The costs of hiring help or paying for travel can add up.

Even so, these expense are worth it if you know your loved ones are receiving quality care.

How can you provide quality care from a distance?

Be sure you have access to information.

For this, you will need your parents to give your power of attorney for financial and health-care decisions.

With this in place, you will have the ability to receive important information regarding the medical and monetary affairs of your parents.

Have a financial plan.

Discuss money with your loved ones.

You will want to map out daily and health care expenses, let alone how to pay for them.

Create an emergency plan.

You will not always be able to make it back immediately.

Arrange for a trusted neighbor to check in on your loved ones and provide access to the home, as this may be necessary.

Assemble a local support team.

You will not be able to manage everything on your own.

This is especially true if the health issues are significant.

Your team members may include friends, family, the community, churches, and healthcare professionals.

Delegate roles according to the strengths of each team member.

Be sure you have a list of contact information for everyone involved in the care of your loved ones.

Stay in touch with them through technology.

With permission, you could also use remote door locks, electronic pill dispensers, and wearable trackers as extra layers of protections.

Consider hiring professional caregivers.

Specifically, you may choose a geriatric care manager.

These individuals also go by other names, but they are essentially licensed nurses or social workers who serve as mediators among family members for health care decisions

Be sure to do your research when you put together your team.

Review references and verify credentials.

The services usually run between $50 and $200 an hour.

Medicare will not cover these costs.

Most insurance plans will not either.

Even so, the benefits may outweigh the costs.

Leverage your visits.

Visits allow you to spend time with your loves ones.

In person conversations are best for arranging caregiving details.

Discuss concerns and conditions regarding your loved one with caregivers.

Be vigilant for signs of abuse.

How do you do this?

Monitor the checking account for your parents.

Look for signs of emotional or physical mistreatment.

These could be unexplained injuries, bruises, and sudden personality changes.

If your parents mention a helpful stranger who spends a lot of time with them, understand this person may not be honest.

Following these steps can make long-distance caregiving less stressful and more successful.

Reference: AARP (Oct. 30, 2019) “Long-Distance Caregiving: 5 Key Steps to Providing Care From Afar”

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