Long Distance Caregiving: Understanding the Needs

It’s easy for many people to realize when their loved one is slipping in their personal care in terms of personal hygiene, appearance, home organization, and more. For a long-distance caregiver, these little things suggest a need for help and are hard to detect.

Often, a visit can seem emotionally charged, and the caregiver focuses on spending quality time with your loved one. Besides, the time allocated for these visits is limited. It is, therefore, important for the long-distance caregiver to be practical and offer the right care while visiting. Here is how to make most of the visits and offer the desired level of personal health care even when you are away.

Make every visit count

When visiting a loved one, caregivers should come prepared to take care of all standard tasks and clear all outstanding bills. They should also set aside time to meet the patient’s healthcare providers including physicians and specialists. You can also talk to the patient’s lawyer and financial advisor and find out if they have noticed any instances of irrational behavior or requests from their client.

You, the caregiver, should not forget to talk to your client’s friends and family. These conversations are critical when it comes to establishing any variations in your client’s behaviour. Remember, the older adult’s relatives and friends are always in contact with him or her, and that makes them a great source of information. Here are some changes in behaviour that you should watch out for during a visit.

  • Is the person having meals regularly? Is there enough food in the refrigerator? Is it fit for human consumption?
  • What’s the overall condition of the inside and outside of the care facility? Has it changed in any way?
  • Is there any unopened mail? Are all the bills paid?
  • Do relatives and friends visit regularly?
  • Is the person in the healthcare facility able to drive safely?

Note that weight loss is a common sign of distress, both physical and emotional in older adults. This can stem from severe illnesses including depression, dementia, heart-related issues, and more. It could also be a lack of energy to prepare meals, washing dishes after meals, or difficulty when it comes to reading directions.

It is also good to monitor a person’s balance. How they bend, walk, and handle things around them can say a lot of things about their overall wellbeing. For instance, someone experiencing pain might limp or even wince with movement. If the older adults aren’t stable on their feet, the chances are that they will fall frequently and that can lead to severe injuries. As a caregiver, you should analyse every aspect of the older adult’s life to establish the different challenges they may be facing and find a way of addressing them.

Before you make any permanent changes, it is important that you sit down with the senior and discuss these issues. Remember, emotions might be running high and probably play a factor in how various suggestions seek to help are perceived. So, you should tread carefully.