Long Distance Caregiving
Planning for your loved one’s care from far away can bring additional stress, so prepare for your next visit with the guidelines below. During the visit, look out for the following behaviors or conditions:
- How is she functioning in her home?
- Can she take care of her activities for daily living?
- Check for bruises, signs of a fall, or abuse.
- Has she been eating balanced meals?
- Does she exercise three times per week?
- Is she drinking enough water?
- How is her emotional status, happy or depressed?
- Can she get in and out of the bathtub on her own?
Virginia Morris, author of “How to Care for Aging Parents,” suggests that one-third of family members live from one to four hours away from their parents. Consider the cost, time and family when planning a trip to see your parents, and try to maintain an upbeat attitude while making memories during your visit as well.
Consider hiring a Geriatric Care manager to oversee the medical, emotional and financial needs of your loved one. He or she will complete a Needs Assessment to ascertain needs and solutions. They will then devise a Care Plan to review: obtaining home health services, need for specialist care, referrals for all outside sevices, coordination of transportation, need for 24/7 for crisis intervention, and the most effective communication with the family.
This service can cost $250 per hour and up. Contact the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM) for more information.
Remember – you are not alone! According to AARP, businesses in the U.S. lose up to an estimated $33.6 billion per year in lost productivity from full-time working caregivers! If you decide to be the main caregiver (long distance or local) for your parent, be prepared for stress and missing work. Talk to your boss, HR Department, or Employee Assistance Program for the company’s written requirements on the Family Medical Leave Act before you plan your time off. Make sure you understand all the consequences that may follow, including the possibility of termination.