More than 400,000 Canadians act as long-distance caregivers to a parent living with a chronic health problem or physical limitation. Long-distance caregivers, defined as those living at least one hour away by car, report having higher care-related expenses and levels of emotional distress than caregivers who live within a short drive of the care recipient. North American caregivers collectively miss 15 million days of work each year to attend to a loved one. As parents age, the emotional and financial pressure long-distance caregivers face will only increase.
Caregiving at a distance can present many challenges, from the guilt of being unable to attend to day-to-day needs to the additional burden of travel time and expenses. Being a long-distance caregiver can be isolating and stressful. Do you feel like decisions are out of your control? There is help you can arrange to assist you every step of the way. Here we look at the challenges of having an aging loved one out of town and why hiring a homecare provider is the best option for support.
As parents age, their needs can quickly change over time. Since you’re not there to monitor the changes, it can be challenging to know what types of care they may need at any given moment. Though you may call them daily or visit on the weekends, you may not have a clear sense if their mood is shifting, if daily tasks like bathing and getting dressed are more of a challenge, or if their memory is failing. Hiring the right in-home caregiver can ensure that your parent is well taken care of so that changing needs are properly met. Not only do you have peace of mind that your loved one is cared for, but the caregiver can also give progress updates and alert you when something has changed. With nurse-managed care, you can rest assured that professionals are looking after their health and day-to-day activities.
MAKING WELL-INFORMED DECISIONS
It’s also important that you have the right resources and information necessary to make well-informed decisions throughout the course of their care. With an in-home caregiver in place, they can gather as much information as possible about your parent’s health, condition, and medication to track their progress and keep you informed about your options. The family homecare provider with a nurse-managed system can act as a single point of contact to coordinate homecare, healthcare, and daily activities.
To ensure your loved one receives the best care possible, it includes keeping their medical documentation, prescriptions, and other care-related items appropriately organized – but what happens if you can’t be there to handle it? A good idea is to, when possible, organize all of their information in a binder that is easy for their caregiver to spot, pick up, and examine. Everything from their daily care schedule to lists of foods they are allergic to, prescription papers, etc., is best collected and kept in a safe place such as this.
Living away from a loved one while trying to provide the best possible care can be stressful, especially if you feel that you’re on your own. To provide the assistance that they need, it’s important to reduce stress and tension, which helps you be more alert and perceptive of your environment. Try having a family member come with you when you visit or sitting in on a Skype call with you. Look for ways to maintain a sense of calm, such as keeping in contact with your loved ones more often for reassurance of their well-being.
When your parents are older, it’s very important for you to maintain regular contact with them to confirm they are safe and have everything they need. When you don’t live in the same area, this can be challenging. For example, if you call and they don’t answer, you can’t tell if they’ve stepped out or if they’re in need of help. Having a professional caregiver can help smooth over the communication process by being the liaison between you and your parent. They can keep you abreast of your parent’s schedule and daily activities. This is especially helpful if your parent has advanced Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and is no longer able to communicate very well.
It can be complicated to coordinate services or find the best doctors and providers in different areas. Thankfully, the best homecare providers have already done the research for you and have relationships with the best providers in your parent’s hometown. They can also ensure your parent makes all their appointments as required.
If you have a loved one out of town, gain some peace of mind and call Qualicare Family Homecare. A team comprising a designated nurse manager and caregiver will be assigned in accordance with your parent’s individual needs, temperament, and personality. Plus, you are able to keep track of their schedule and daily progress through Qualicare’s secure and transparent Family Room Web Portal and 24/7 hotline support. Call us at 613.366.2899.
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