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Long distance caregiving Living far away from a loved one can complicate many things, not the least of which is their daily care. If you live in a different city or state from your aging parents as the miles expand so do your worries. You must try to understand their health and day-to-day needs from a distance. It’s not easy. Thankfully professional home care agencies can step in and provide daily support to provide you with peace of mind. According to the MetLife/National Alliance for Caregiving report[1], an estimated 34 million Americans are caregivers for an older parent and 15% of them live one or more hours away from the care recipient. That is a very difficult equation. It requires gathering information, communicating with clinical providers and staying up-to-date on your loved one’s health at a distance. Professional home caregivers can help to ease the pressure on you and provide an efficient source of trained caregiving help. The Handbook of Live-in Care guides you through the services that live-in caregivers can provide to your loved one whether it’s activities of daily living, medical services, transportation, housekeeping or even preparing meals. Home Care Assistance is with your parents when you can’t be. As a long distance caregiver, there are several strategies that you can follow to make things easier. They include: 1. Schedule family meetings to discuss caregiving decisions. Acrimony disrupts care and adds unnecessary stress to an aging parent. 2. Spending time collecting and organizing all the documents you need well before a crisis occurs. These include, but are not limited to, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, medical records, contact information for all physicians, specialists and affiliated providers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants. 3. Getting to know key people in your community who can help you deliver care from a distance. These include local senior centers, eldercare attorneys, city councils (organizations) on aging, and senior care referral agencies. 4. Knowing the neighbors. If your parent lives in a neighborhood, make a visit and introduce yourself. Friendly neighbors can be invaluable ears and eyes for you. They can tell you if the shades remain drawn or the mail hasn’t been brought inside for days at a time. They can also drop in and visit your parent and call you with an update. If you parent doesn’t live in a neighborhood, seek services from local visiting nurses, or home care agencies like Home Care Assistance. The medical community, led by the National Institutes on Aging, believes that the longer an aging person can remain in their own home, the healthier they remain. That is why we exist and provide highly trained services to support nutrition, cognition and general well-being with programs like our Balanced Care Method. We can care for your parent and improve your own sense of well-being at the same time. [1]:MetLife Mature Market Institute, www.MatureMarketInstitute.com.
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