(NewsUSA) - Long-distance caregiving for a parent or senior loved one is a difficult reality for many adults.
A study by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, finds that 23 percent of American adults currently care for an older relative who lives more than an hour away.
Providing care from a distance can be stressful. But if relocating closer to a loved one is not an option, Home Instead recommends the following tips to make providing long-distance care a little easier:
1. Establish open communication - When visiting your loved one, make time to meet the individuals who are part of his or her everyday life. Whether that's a physician or caregiver, it's important to get to know those involved in the daily care of a loved one.
2. Be observant - Do your loved ones avoid answering specific questions about their health? Have they stopped participating in their usual activities? Are they unaware of current events or forgotten important dates? These may be warning signs that they need additional care or help around the house.
3. Be prepared - Create a list of your older adult's medical issues/medications, doctor's names, and legal documents in case you need to access them from afar during an emergency.
4. Spend quality time during visits - It's easy to get wrapped up in caregiving responsibilities.
When you visit, set aside time with your loved one to participate in activities unrelated to caregiving. Go see a movie together, plan a visit to see other family members, go for a walk or simply relax at home.
5. Get to know neighbors and friends - Get to know your loved one's neighbors and identify one or two trustworthy individuals who can check in and give you occasional updates.
6. Learn more about caregiving - Find support to help you become a better caregiver.
For example, Home Instead Senior Care offers resources that can help family members provide better care and learn skills, such as how to safely move someone from a bed to a chair, how to help someone bathe, and how to prevent and treat bed sores, as well as basic first aid.
Family members looking for additional resources and support relating to long-distance caregiving can visit caregiverstress.com or find a local Home Instead Senior Care office by going to www.homeinstead.com/state.