Long-Distance Caregiving: Points to Remember
Whether it’s hands-on or long-distance, all types of caregiving can be difficult and time-consuming, to say the least. Stress aside, it can be a rewarding experience. Think of it like this: The purpose of you becoming a caregiver is to make your aging parent’s life easier. While keeping upbeat and positive at all times is not necessarily healthy or realistic, being prepared to deal with any situation–from doctor’s visits, to medical bills, to home modifications, et al–is your best bet to having a satisfying experience.
The National Institutes of Health recommends keeping the following points in mind if you find yourself in a long-distance caregiving role:
- Know what you need to know. Any experienced caregiver will recommend that you learn as much as you can about your parent’s illness, including information on medications and other resources that might be available. This will help understand the illness as it progresses and make you more apt at talking with doctors.
- Plan your visits. It’s common to feel that there is too much to do when visiting your parent. If possible, talk to your parent (or another family caregiver) ahead of time about what they would like to you, as well as what needs to be taken care of. This will help you get more accomplished during your visit.
- Be sure to spend time visiting with your family member.Â Make time to do things unrelated to caregiving. Watch a movie together or arrange a visit with old friends or other family members. If your parent is able, take them out for dinner or to one of their favorite activities. These simple and relaxing activities will put everyone at ease.
- Get in touch, and stay in touch. Schedule a routine time to call your loved one and other family members–and stick to it! Also, create an email list of people invested in your loved one’s condition. Keeping everyone in the loop makes the caregiving experience more of a team effort, and less burdensome on any single person.
- Learn more about caregiving. Consider getting some caregiving training, as many of us don’t automatically have natural caregiving skills. Ask your parent’s doctor, nurse or senior care provider to recommend caregiving resources in Omaha.
Are there any more points worth remembering that we didn’t cover? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
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