Caregiver in Manalapan Township NJ
If you’re a family caregiver, but live an hour or more away from your loved one, you have some unique challenges. You may even wonder how you can effectively do your job as caregiver when you’re not there. Relax, there are plenty of options for long-distance caregiving. They can run the gamut, including everything from coordinating services with others to getting respite services for a primary caregiver who is local. Want to know where to begin?
- The first thing to realize is you play an important role, just one that’s different from someone who is in the same community. So why not get started by setting up a family meeting—either in person, or via phone or video conference. Everyone should discuss their goals and feelings and be willing to take on some of the chores and responsibilities involved in having an aging loved one. Someone should take notes and get them to everyone after the conference, remembering to include your family member in the decision-making process.
- Compile notes and gather up information about your loved one’s condition, along with any legal or financial paperwork. Are there any issues that need resolving? Have names and contact information for life or disability insurance companies, along with policy numbers.
- Research your loved one’s medical conditions so that you have some idea of what they’re going through, how the illness progresses, how to avert problems or crises, etc. Also put together a list of all medical providers, contact information, health insurance information, etc. It might make it easier to talk with your family member’s doctors also, but because of privacy laws you will need to have written authorization before they can talk with you. Keep a copy of that authorization in case it’s needed later. Once that’s done, speak with them on a regular basis. Include your loved one’s primary caregiver in the calls, too.
- Ask family members and your loved one’s friends to help with some things, even if it’s just checking in on them regularly or paying them a friendly visit.
- If professional help is needed for things like personal care, meals, medication management, shopping, housekeeping, etc., start interviewing professional caregiver organizations.
- Do what you can long-distance, be it making all phone calls to handle their affairs, paying bills online, etc.
- Set aside time and money in case there is an emergency that comes up or you need to make some other unexpected trip to visit your loved one.
- Stay in touch with your loved one via the many things today’s technology offers—whether that’s Skyping, emailing, communicating via Facebook, etc. You can also send frequent cards, pictures or home videos of yourself or your family.
- Provide back-up and emotional support for in-person caregivers whenever possible.
- Let go of the guilt for nor being there in person. You’re just as valuable where you are.
If the situation warrants, you may be able to get time away under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.