It can be tricky when it’s impossible to pop in every day, but there are still lots of things that you can do to ensure they are safe and supported.
Our changing lifestyles and work demands mean that many of us simply don’t live around the corner from our parents. This means that more and more people are having to care for elderly relatives who live some distance away. The biggest concern for those children is to check on their well-being and manage health of their parents and are often termed as “long-distance caregivers.”
The demands can put pressure on your job, the family purse and your own health. Glenn Martin, Founder & CEO of Full Circle Home Care said:
Supporting distance caring is about supporting 21st century families and 21st century workplaces. Families and workplaces today are mobile – people don’t always live, or work, as close to each other as they used to. What we know is that caring can have a devastating impact on families’ lives, throwing many people into lasting poverty and ill health while employers also lose valued and skilled employees. The reality of life today is that working and caring at a distance is here to stay – caring is everybody’s business.
The keys to coping with caring are planning, preparing and asking for help.
With the right support in place you can help you loved one maintain their wellbeing, safety and dignity in their own home.
Here are some common ways to manage your parent’s health remotely:
Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help from friends and other family members, by working together you can share the burden of care.
Helping others can really make us feel good about ourselves. Everyone will have different strengths, availability and preferences.
Someone who lives nearby may be able to check-up on your parent regularly, or take them out for a lunch. Those who are unable to provide hands-on care may be able to run errands, go shopping or do the household chores. Others might struggle with day to day help but may be able to offer blocks of respite care.
Legal or financially astute family members can help deal with bills and accounts, no matter where they live.
2. Provide A Virtual Helping Hand
Seniors do not want to visit hospitals for multiple reasons, it can be an issue with mobility, fear, hesitation of facing a doctor, financial limitation, etc. If you are living away from them, you can talk to them over telephone or video calls and can get to understand their problems and concerns. Not only motivate them for hospital/doctor visit but also encourage them to eat properly, maintain a balance diet, have a set routine, exercise, socialize etc.
Wherever you are, it should be possible to pick-up the phone or use a computer. You can be a virtual assistant to your parent, arranging appointments, doing an online food shop or booking taxis so that they get to the right place at the right time. Organizing doctor visit has become easy in this era of internet. One can find specialized specific doctor; take their appointment through hospital’s website to relieve their parent’s from booking hassle. Other arrangements like arranging cabs, bill payments, downloading tests reports etc. can also be done through internet. It is important to remember that sending them to the doctor is one part; we must also keep an eye on follow ups. Depending on the condition and situation, other things like doctor’s home visit, groceries shopping, food delivery can also be arranged from a distance.
Age, depression or dementia can affect their memory so having you to provide a gentle reminder can mean they don’t miss vital check-ups.
3. Get Their Medicines Organized
The new easiest way to track the elderly’s medication is a pill box. It could be done once a week or monthly. If you are visiting your loved one frequently, then it should be done when you visit them. Otherwise, you can also ask your trained attendant to help you in filling the pill box and/or managing their medicines through an audio or video call.
4. Prepare For Emergencies
Maintain healthy relations with neighbors so that they regularly check with your parents and can be contacted in case of any need. One can also register their loved ones with their nearest police station and also have the contact details of nearby hospitals and dispensaries that can be used in emergencies.
Make sure both you and your parent keep an emergency contact list close at hand, including numbers for their GP, family and friends that live close by, their home carer, any odd job men or gardeners, a reliable taxi firm and of course your own number for any emergencies.
5. Video Calls
Regular video calls with children or grandchildren will give seniors the feeling that they are still connected with them. It will also give a chance to the grown up children to keep an eye on their parent’s hygiene, their upkeep, their appearance etc.
6. Senior Friendly Home
To reduce the chances of falls and to prevent seniors from any other hazard, one must make their home more senior friendly. Put more lights, install handrail and grab bars in the important areas of the house, anti-skid mats or carpets should cover the shiny floors. You can also use contrast colors for walls and doors, walls and switch boards, plates and mats etc.
5. Video Calls
Finding a reliable carer to provide assistance, support and a friendly face can be invaluable.
Take time to look for the right person to help your parent by considering their experience, qualifications and that x-factor that means they interact well with your loved one and you trust them to do a good job.
Even though you live far away, it’s worth spending time with the carer when they start so that you build up a relationship and an understanding.
You can work out together how they can best support your parent, whether it’s taking care of household chores, nipping to the shops or just providing cake, company and a listening ear.
8. Don’t Forget Odd Jobs
It’s easy to focus on the important task of protecting your parent’s health and wellbeing, while little jobs around the home remain undone. However, it’s essential to maintain their environment too. Broken lights, mossy paths, uneven floors or little leaks can all put your loved one at risk of falls and accidents.
A trusted handyman can keep things safe and tidy and prevent you having to catch up on DIY when you’d rather spend quality time together.
9. Hire Professional Help
These days you can also hire professional services from organizations like Full Circle Senior Care, which provide oversight for your parents’ emotional and physical well-being. These organizations have Care Managers and Care Specialists to help you take care of your parent’s needs. They can assist you with you hospital visits and tending to emergencies as well as providing quality companionship to the elderly.
When your parent needs a helping hand, more and more people will need to access to their home It’s a good idea for close family or neighbours to have their own keys, however it may not be safe to hand out spare keys to all and sundry.
Consider something like a Lock Box, accessible with a code, to allow trusted people to enter the house. It can also be a sensible backup if your parent has a fall or is unwell and unable to open the door.
Senior Connect Remote Monitoring System
This innovative wireless system is a set of different components that help a family to monitor health of senior remotely, as well as to improve their quality of life. A the heart of the system is a large touchscreen device in the residence which performs multiple functions. It can monitor daily activity, store health data, keep reminders, medicine prompts and also web based entertainment like music, videos, and social networking is available. It is senior friendly; no computer skill is required as it works on single touch.
The stored data is secured and can be retrieved remotely only through a care portal or by creating a caregiver’s user account. Moreover, it’s a two way communication, a caregiver or doctor can retrieve data as well as they can check health records, view graphs, set up notifications, utilize care notes, and add social communications to the touchscreen through a care portal.
For more information on the Senior Connect Technology, go to www.seniorconnect365.com.
Wherever you live, you can help protect your parent and provide them with the support they need to live safely and well in their twilight years.