Consider this: you live in New York City, while your elderly mother lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Each week, you call and coordinate care from more than two thousand miles away. Like many, you’re a long-distance caregiver. Currently, the United States has an estimated 5-7 million of them. But, what does it take to be a successful long-distance caregiver in Jamaica Estates or New York for that matter?
Long-Distance Caregivers Are Unrecognized
Long-distance caregivers perform various roles in their caregiving capacity, from scheduling appointments to paying bills. Many also provide emotional support and coordinate logistics for travel. Although long-distance caregivers play an essential role in the life of a loved one, they are largely unrecognized in the public arena. Additionally, many caregivers report high levels of stress and feel guilty about being far from an elderly relative.
Aside from the psychological impact, distant caregiving also has financial repercussions. Long-distance caregivers spend approximately $8,728 annually on caregiving-related expenses. Meanwhile, the value of unpaid caregiving exceeds that of paid in-home care and total Medicaid spending.
So, how can long-distance caregivers avoid burnout while delivering the best care for their loved ones?
Tips for Long-Distance Caregiving In Jamaica Estates
1. Familiarize Yourself With the Loved One’s Condition
Experienced caregivers advise familiarizing yourself with your loved one’s condition, medicinal requirements, and access to resources. When you understand the diagnosis, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions to help with care management and prevent setbacks. Also, make sure this information is accessible to other caregivers for greater efficacy in delivering care.
2. Stay in Touch With Medical Staff
It’s good practice to stay in touch with a loved one’s physician, assisted living facility team, or nursing home staff to receive updated information about his health. You can schedule conference calls with facility staff or social workers to get timely updates about patient conditions. Also, stay in touch with your loved one during hospital stays. You can do this by sending cards or setting aside time for phone calls and video chats through Skype or FaceTime.
3. Check In Regularly To Keep Updated About Important Developments
Avoid waiting until the threat of an emergency to increase check-ins with your loved one. Certainly, making phone calls regularly and attending virtual appointments are important. However, taking the time to visit your loved one can make a difference in how your loved one navigates a chronic condition. Also, be sure to let medical staff know how you will be notified in the event of an emergency.
4. Divide Caregiving Duties With Other Family Members
Nearly one-fourth of caregivers admit they are the only caregivers for a senior. Additionally, almost 80% of these caregivers work full-time or part-time. In all, long-distance caregivers struggle with overwhelming burdens. So, if you have siblings or other close family members, try sharing the caregiving role with them. Perhaps, you can offer to handle financial duties while another family member focuses on the medical aspects of caregiving.
5. Don’t Neglect Yourself!
Many long-distance caregivers neglect their own well-being in the process of caring for their loved ones. They dedicate much of their free time to tackling the needs of others. On average, many caregivers spend more than 13 hours a month coordinating care for loved ones and researching patient diseases.
Although making time for yourself is challenging, it’s crucial for your welfare and that of your loved one.
Essentially, ensuring your well-being is the only way to ensure sustained and effective care for your loved one. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. Consider joining a support group for caregivers to get moral and emotional support.
In all, long-distance caregiving comes with unique challenges.
However, the biggest consolation should come from the fact that you’re doing everything possible to keep your loved one safe, healthy and comfortable – even from a distance.
When the going gets tough, consider connecting with religious organizations, geriatric care managers, adult day-care service centers, or home health agencies for additional support.
David York Agency Supports All Caregivers
If you would 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!