Aug 15, 2017 by Larry Morgan
Many Americans find themselves in the predicament of wanting to provide care for a loved one, but not being able to do it themselves. This can be due to a variety of factors – living far away or not having the time to, to name a few.
How can you still help your loved one without directly being their caregiver? Here are some tips:
If you live far away, visits will be precious time spent with your loved one. Or, if you live close but cannot be their caregiver for other reasons, visiting frequently will make them fell supported and less lonely. This will also give you the chance to ensure they are doing well and that nothing needs your direct attention.
While you visit, make changes to the home (after talking it through with them first, of course) to make their home safer for them to navigate.
The number one reason for seniors visiting the ER is falling, so preventing a fall can prevent a hospital visit, as well as that consequences that could follow. Move their furniture so it’s more spacious for walking, cover any loose wired or cords, and install grab bars and rails in convenient places so that they can have something to hold onto if they need. There are many more drastic renovations you can do as well; it all depends on your senior and their needs.
Taking medications of the correct dosage and on a schedule can be difficult, so helping them set up a routine to take them can make things easier for them. Help cut pills when you visit if needed, organize them into weekly AM/PM boxes, and so forth – do what works best for your senior.
There are also machines you can buy that dispense the correct dose of each medicine your loved one needs at the appropriate times, if you’re willing to spend the money.
If you can’t physically provide the care yourself but your loved one needs hands-on care, hiring a professional caregiver can be a great investment. Not only will you be sure your loved one’s needs are taken care of, but caregivers do so much more than just basic care: they provide companionship, fun activities, exercise, and can even help transport your loved one to and from their doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and so forth.
You have options when it comes to hiring – a quick web search will give you local caregiving agencies and private caregivers for hire. There are pros and cons to each, but again, the best option is dependent on you and your loved one’s needs.
As can be seen in the other sections above, technological advancements have made caregiving from a distance much easier. There are other forms of technology that can help your senior, too. For example, if your loved one is hard of hearing, a hearing aid or other devices can help ease the problem.
Technology can even help make them safer, such as a security system in the home, or if your loved one has dementia, a wearable alarm that can alert you and emergency personnel if they wander off. The options are endless.
It may feel like you can’t do much for your senior if you can’t provide them direct care, but the rise of home health agencies and technology have made caring for your loved one indirectly much easier and more efficient. Talk to your senior’s physician for more information on care options and new technology on the market, if you’re interested.