According to the Pew Research Center, most seniors in the United States, Italy, and Germany live independently. This means that many seniors don’t share the same living space as their grown children. Yet, in all three countries, family members provide most of the assistance seniors receive. Such assistance can include help with housework, home repairs, or errands. When your loved one becomes ill, however, the challenges of long-distance caregiving increase. Below, we discuss our best tips for caregivers and long-distance caregiving in Staten Island.
Request Access To Financial Or Legal Information
It’s important to have a conversation about obtaining access to your loved one’s financial and legal information. This ensures that you have the power to act in your parent’s best interests in the event of an emergency. It’s also important to discuss power-of-attorney designations: Who will make the decisions when your loved one is incapacitated? For the most part, the advent of online bill pay has made settling utility bills a breeze. If your loved one needs help in this area, we highly recommend getting the bills sent directly to you so that they can be paid in good time.
Begin Learning All You Can About Your Loved One’s Healthcare Needs
Due to privacy concerns, most doctors won’t discuss your loved one’s medical care without explicit written permission from the patient. So, make sure that your loved one signs a release form. This allows you to call and discuss your parent’s care with providers, health insurance companies, and nursing home staff.
Make It A Priority To Visit On A Regular Basis
Remember to take time to visit. Spend time with your loved one and enjoy a variety of activities together. Go shopping, take in a movie, or go for a walk. You can also visit parks, nature preserves, and beaches. Here are a few senior-friendly locations we recommend in Staten Island:
- Blue Heron Park; the visitor center provides disabled access for visitors with mobility concerns
- Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, which provides full disability access
- The Greenbelt Conservancy, which provides partial disability access and senior programs
Pack a picnic lunch or prepare quick treats to take along. If your loved one doesn’t feel well enough to venture out, enjoy a board game together or watch a TV show. The idea is to spend time building special memories and strong emotional connections.
Ask Your Loved One’s Friends Or Neighbors For Assistance
Do you have relatives who can visit? Enlist neighbors and close friends to look in on your loved one regularly. If your loved one is religious, ask for visits from pastoral staff, as well.
After the visit, seek out the members of your care team to obtain their perspectives, so you can get a feel for how your parent is faring. Often, your loved one may prefer to confide in trusted religious leaders, neighbors, or friends. He/she may hide distressing symptoms or life changes from you so as not to burden you. So, assembling an emotional support team is crucial to successful long-distance caregiving.
Hire Professional Help When Needed
If you don’t share the same living space, it may be a challenge to assess your loved one’s needs. We recommend that you enlist the help of a geriatric care manager. These experienced professionals can help you evaluate care needs, coordinate medical services, select the right care staff, and suggest home elder-proofing measures. You can also hire professionals that provide in-home care services. In New York City, SADC (Social Adult Day Care) programs are now a Medicaid-covered benefit.
Have Contingency Plans In Place For The Future
Many people have a living will that lets doctors know their expectations for end-of-life care. It’s imperative that you educate yourself on what your loved one wants. Understand the difference between palliative care and hospice care. Both add to the physical and emotional comfort of the patient. However, hospice care does not include curative treatments.
At its heart, hospice care involves a team of professionals that provide emotional comfort and medical care to patients who have six months or less to live.
David York Agency Supports All Caregivers
David York Agency understands the challenges of caregiving and is willing to provide all the support you need.
If you’d like more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.
David York Agency Home Healthcare is committed to providing personalized care for your loved one. If you have questions about our services, please contact us. We can help you through the difficult times and give you the break you deserve!