How Can I Remotely Care for My Senior Mom or Dad?
Living far from your aging parent makes it hard to oversee their care. When you’re not able to physically be present to take care of your loved one, navigating and managing care seems nearly impossible. You’re not there each day to evaluate their health or comfort level for yourself. You probably feel like you’re often in the dark about how they’re really doing.
Whether you are geographically removed or nearby but simply don't have the capacity to provide care yourself, you can still be engaged in their care. With the right supports in place and care option selected, you can remotely care for your senior parent and feel comfortable that they are receiving the care they need. Here are some tips on caring from your senior loved one from afar.
Establish Access to Information
The first step you should take is to establish all the essential channels of communication. This means having the appropriate releases and contact information for all of your parent’s medical providers, nearby hospitals, and medical professionals. This ensures that doctors are legally able to share information about your parent’s health with you.
Once you have everything organized on the medical front, you need to take steps to have a role in making your parent’s legal decisions. You or another close family member, like a sibling, need to discuss who will have power of attorney to act on your parent’s behalf, if the need ever arises.
You also need discuss access to your parent’s financial information, asking your parent if they need help managing their money, paying bills, or covering the cost of care. While your parent may want to continue paying their own bills, it’s wise to have access to their accounts, so you can occasionally scan for any issues or suspicious account activity. Considering as many scams that target seniors specifically, this preventative measure will be helpful.
Finally, you need to establish emergency contact channels. Make sure your parent has an easy way to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should also connect with someone nearby, like a neighbor, family friend, or relative, who can be a secondary contact. Provide your parent with a phone that has specific emergency contact information programmed into it. You may also want to consider installing emergency buttons in their home or buttons they can carry with them that will contact emergency services.
Create a Network or Care Team
Even if you can’t be there personally, you can have a team to help with senior home care. Family, neighbors, and friends can all play a role in caring for seniors. The key to a successful care team, however, is not to task one person with all the responsibility. Think of ways to split up small tasks among members of your support network, so no one person is overwhelmed.
In addition to family members who can provide assistance, you also need professionals on your team who can lend a hand. You should connect with your loved one’s doctors and find a local caregiver who can provide assistance when needed.
You may also want to consider having a local geriatric care manager or coordinator to help you manage your loved one’s care. Here are some helpful resources for finding this type of professional:
- The National Guardianship Association
- The Society of Certified Senior Advisors
- The Case Management Society of America
As you’re creating a team, include your loved one in the conversation to see who they want to be involved in their care. You should also talk about what some of their biggest challenges and worries are in terms of health, safety, and managing daily tasks. You can tap into your care team resources to help them overcome these concerns.
Find senior home care experts in your parent’s area.
Redeem a free visit when you book with CaringOnDemand.
Find Physical Care Providers
In terms of managing physical care remotely, you can consider two options: a senior living community or home health care. A senior community ensures your parent has access to care 24 hours a day. However, this may not be a reasonable option for all families, primarily due to the high cost. Also, your parent may not want to leave their own home.
Many families choose to hire home care professionals, as an alternative to senior living communities. This can be a great option if you have a parent who wants to stay in their home or if your parent needs some help, but doesn’t need around-the-clock assistance. You can schedule care for a few hours each day or week. Even if your parent needs assistance unexpectedly and you’re not present to help, they can reach out to their caregivers.
Plus, there are developing technologies that can help you stay involved in your parent’s home care. Applications like CaringOnDemand allow you to schedule, pay for, and review your parent’s home care with ease.
Either option gives you peace of mind knowing someone is monitoring your loved one’s health and wellbeing at all times.
Caring for seniors goes beyond checking off doctor’s appointments. You need to be available to provide mental and emotional support, even if that means you’re connecting over the phone. Many seniors struggle with loneliness, so it’s important that you engage with your parent regularly. Find topics to discuss that you both enjoy, or do an activity together like watching a show or reading a book, even if you’re doing it remotely.
Regularly ask how your parent is doing. Listen to what they say, and pay attention for signs of change in their health or circumstances. For example, if a certain caregiver makes them uncomfortable, there may be more to the story. When you’re not present to monitor your parent, you’ll want to stay alert for any signs of mistreatment or abuse.
One of the best ways you can help your parent is by embracing change and supporting them as you both navigate this stage of their life together. Be ready to adapt to changing needs from your loved one, and monitor them the best you can for any change in their health.
Caring for seniors can be a demanding job, whether or not you’re not in the same location. Having caregiver burnout can happen even if you’re caring for them from a distance! However, when you have a safety net of support, you can feel confident that your parent is well cared for, especially when you have a team of care experts in place.
Find senior home care experts in your parent’s area. Redeem a free visit when you book with CaringOnDemand.