Caregiving from a Distance: Making a Family Emergency Plan

Living at a distance from older loved ones can make the need for help at home easier to overlook. As a matter of fact, many adult children of elderly parents often do not realize that Dad and Mom need assistance until they come home for a visit or spend a longer period of time together. If you are caregiving from a distance for your senior parents, it’s important to have a family emergency plan in place.

The experts in Aberdeen home health care and care in the surrounding area at Carolina Hearts Home Care have put together these helpful strategies to help long-distance family caregivers. 

Advance Planning

When you’re not in a position to just drive across town to help, it is imperative to have family conversations about the “what ifs” that could possibly arise with your loved ones, such as: 

  • Living situation preferences according to the severity and who is involved – consider some scenarios for debate; for example, a broken leg requiring a rehab stay. 
  • How will you determine when “it’s time” to make a major change? What will this look like? 
  • Monetary considerations in providing care, such as how much work can family members miss? What outside financial support might be available? 
  • Advance directives for decision-making: be sure everything is in order and keep a copy for yourself.

Ongoing Evaluation 

When you can’t see your senior loved ones each day, it can be tempting to ignore the often-uncomfortable task of evaluating health and wellness in favor of simply enjoying each other’s company. However, it’s important to routinely take into consideration and assess how your aging parents are really doing. 

  • Identify the RN who is working with your loved ones’ physician and stay in contact with him or her. 
  • Be sure there is a HIPAA Release of Information Form on file at all of your parents’ physicians’ offices so that you may speak openly with the medical experts, and also make sure you have one for yourself. 
  • Have regular telephone and/or video conferencing calls with your senior parents to check in and help them resolve any concerns.
  • Keep a list of any informal local resources: friends, neighbors, and other family members who can be part of your aging parents’ network of support. Remain in touch with this network and let them know how to reach you and that you encourage their calls.

Determining When to Travel and When to Stay Home

Problems are likely to develop, perhaps at a moment’s notice. You can’t travel for every single worry when caregiving from a distance, so decide ahead of time when you will travel and when you will utilize other resources to provide help.

  • Ask if this is a legitimate medical or care emergency. As one part (not all) of the decision-making, ask a doctor, social worker, or nurse for more comprehensive information and his/her suggestion on whether you should travel in.
  • Could another person locally assess the issue at hand or eyeball the situation for you?
  • It’s perfectly fine to go there to place your mind at ease as well. If staying home and worrying is going to be less effective for you, then it may be best to go.

Consider Partnering with Carolina Hearts Home Care

Hiring a professional in-home senior care provider not only leads to the very best care, it can also provide long-distance family members an enhanced feeling of peace and connection. At Carolina Hearts Home Care, our professional care experts have extensive training and are able to:

  • Assess the circumstances
  • Uncover gaps, problems, resources and strengths
  • Monitor health, nutrition, activity, etc.
  • Screen and plan for other services and support
  • Coordinate with financial, legal and medical providers
  • Communicate regularly with family members
  • And more 

If you need help making a family emergency plan or if your senior parents are in need of Aberdeen home health care or care in the surrounding areas, contact the caregivers at Carolina Hearts Home Care online or over the phone at 855-277-2005. We promise to treat your family like our very own.