Big thanks to Jacob Edward for contributing this article.
Whether you are close in proximity or out of state, there are many factors that go into play in order to provide successful caregiving for a loved one. It is much easier to care for someone in the same city or fairly close by. However, many families live in different states, often times across the county. Long distance caregiving may seem unmanageable at first, but there are many things you can do to successfully provide the care they need and maintain peace-of-mind for yourself and the one receiving the care.
1.) Keep on Top of Any Health or Behavioral Changes
The most important way to track health and behavioral changes is to develop a metric and have an individual that is familiar with individual receiving the care assess them at designated intervals. Often times it’s best to have more than one person doing the assessment.
Having a primary care physician do the assessment is a good option especially since their patients generally see them at designated time intervals. However, changes can happen soon than the next appointment and therefore it is good to have other health related professionals provide insight.
2.) Have a Plan in Place
Whether they have a home care aid coming in every day or once or twice a week, make sure they are familiar with what their patient can and can’t do physically. If there are any memory or behavioral issues make sure to let them know so they can monitor to see if anything changes. If there aren’t it’s also a good idea to let them know so if there does become an issue, they have a metric to compare it to. As the family member or friend, make sure the caregiver knows to inform their manager, their physician on file and of course the emergency contacts.
3.) What if a Change in Behavior or Physical Decline Occurs?
As stated above, make sure there is a plan in place. In the event that a physical decline occurs, home health might be a good option, which can be recommended from the patient’s primary care physician. Additionally, adding on caregiving hours will help mitigate the effects of a physical decline.
Of course consulting with their physician about any upcoming changes is a good idea. If the patient receives the right therapy and has an adequate amount of care to help them get through their day, a recovery or a partial recovery is likely depending on the reason for the physical decline. If there are times when the caregivers are not there, an emergency medical alert is a good idea.
If a change in mental condition occurs, the physician may recommend additional hours as well. As long as they are safe living alone, without risks such as wandering or turning on a burner and leaving it on, they may be able to get by just fine.
However, if there is a major physical or mental decline, the patient may need a caregiving aid 24/7. With caregiving agencies readily being able to provide 24/7 care, patients are able to “age in place.” Family members and friends don’t have to worry about their loved ones because there is always a caregiver around to assist. Many people think assisted living and skilled nursing facilities are better options but most of the time they aren’t staffed at the ratio of one caregiver to one patient. The major benefit of having a private caregiving aid is the one-to-one care provided which translates to a superior level of care in most instances.
Jacob Edward is the manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix Arizona. Jacob founded Senior Planning in 2007 and has helped many Arizona seniors and their families navigate the process of long term care planning. Senior Planning provides assistance to seniors and the disabled finding and arranging care services, finding assisted living communities, as well as applying for state and federal benefits. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys dining out and supporting his alma mater Arizona State’s Sun Devil sports teams. Jacob lives in Tempe Arizona.