How to Care for Senior Loved Ones Long Distance
Offering real support and care to seniors is a challenge for many families. For those living far away from senior loved ones, the challenge is even greater.
As families spread out around the country and globe, seniors often rely on the support of loved ones who live far away. Long-distance caregiving has unique challenges, but it can be done safely and effectively.
In the US, approximately 5-7 million adults are responsible for caring for a senior family member who lives more than 26 miles away. For seniors and their caregivers, long-distance support is possible through smart strategies.
Common Challenges of Long-Distance Caregiving
Caregiving for senior loved ones is typically challenging. Coordinating services, ensuring a senior’s safety, offering companionship, and dealing with emotions are all common difficulties for families. Distance adds more complications.
As a result, common challenges of long-distance caregiving include:
Finding, hiring, and managing professional caregivers
Filling in caregivers during times of absence
Tracking seniors’ progress, needs, and well-being
Offering companionship to combat loneliness
Arranging for services like transportation
Gaining assurance of senior safety in their own homes
Feeling disconnected or out of the loop in the caregiving process
Paying for quality care plus travel expenses
Fun Facts about Aging in the Modern Day
Only 3% of seniors live in nursing homes
Many seniors choose to live in retirement communities with age restrictions, and often times their children don’t meet those requirements
A large number of seniors choose to never retire and remain independent
An increasing number of seniors like to travel for fun
Approximately ½ of seniors in the US use social media and like to connect onlin
Strategies for Successful Long-Distance Caregiving
Long-distance caregiving has become increasingly common due to the changing lifestyles of both seniors and families. Many caregiving agencies are now equipped to include long-distance loved ones in caregiving. Advances in technology also make it possible for far-away family members to be involved in caregiving.
Smart strategies for long-distance caregiving include:
Selecting a caregiver agency that uses technology to offer real-time interaction and transparency between in-person caregivers and family members
Using video calling technology to stay connected with seniors on a regular basis
Hiring companions, transportation, and other services designed specifically for seniors
Opting for the support of a professional senior care agency
Setting up automatic bill pay and other regular needs so seniors don’t have to track them
Making sure access to medical records has been granted to those living far away
Smart Tech for Long-Distance Care
Video doorbells that connect with family member’s phones
Caregiving tracking and communication apps
Wi-Fi lights that can be controlled remotely and by voice
Biosensors that offer health and movement information
Often, seniors and long-distance caregivers are anxious about each other’s well-being. Stay positive in conversations with either party. Reassurance can many times improve the situation.