The ups and downs of caregiving are inevitable, but when you add distance to the equation, the emotional toll can soar. When caring for loved ones, it is incredibly important for caregivers to find support and learn how to cope with the emotions of long-distance caregiving. The good news is that there are tools and resources available. Here are just a few:
Manage expectations through planning.
Knowledge is power, so the saying goes, and, when coordinating the care of family members in another town, it is absolutely true. Since you can’t physically attend every appointment, and you can’t make important decisions with only some of the details, it’s critical to streamline your planning.
Schedule time on the weekend to meet with your family members over the phone or through Facetime. Review and schedule upcoming appointments and recreational activities. Knowing that your loved ones are interacting with people who care for them will help you cope with any guilt you feel because you can’t be there every day. Please note: This may require you to obtain authorization to speak with medical professionals and caregivers.
Reduce stress through partnerships.
People need people. When you are caring for someone from a city or state away, you need a team you can call on. It may take some time to assemble your support team, and the members may change as time goes on and your family member’s need for care changes, but, if you have your team in place, you will minimize stress in times of crisis. Your support team should consist of:
- Medical professionals
- In-home care services
- Local friends and family members
- Senior services and resource providers
Not only can these partners aid you in assessing your family member’s needs at any given time, but they are partners for your loved one as well. When they don’t have to call you for every little thing like changing a lightbulb or picking up a prescription, it can offer them a sense of independence and limit the strain on your relationship.
Increase connection through technology.
Facetime and Skype are just two of the excellent options for having face-to-face conversations with loved ones, near or far. Connecting frequently will help your relationships stay strong throughout the ups and downs of their care. Additionally, regular visual assessments will enable you to notice any changes in physical appearance, like weight loss, changes in concentration or clarity, the onset of an illness, and more.
Manage emotions through counseling.
If all the resources and partnerships and connections aren’t enough, a professional counselor is an excellent source of perspective and peace. One of your greatest responsibilities as a caregiver is to know when to ask for help. Remember, as much as you want what’s best for your loved ones, they want the same for you. Sometimes it’s necessary to step off the roller coaster of emotions so you can provide the best level of care for your loved ones, even from a distance.
When you need extra help, call on San Antonio Home Care Assistance at 210-495-6300.